Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What to do with NCLB?

In 1955 the Ford Motor Company introduced the Thunderbird. Sadly, I was not born yet so I could not see the first one roll off the lot. I imagine it would have been fabulous to see and I would have wanted one as much then as I would like one now.

Many years later, facing lackluster sales, stale performance, and an out-dated and unworkable design Ford abandoned the manufacturing of the T-bird, spent thoughtful time back at the drawing board, and reintroduced it with the best of the original concept and the best of 21st Century research and development.

I think we need the same approach with No Child Left Behind. We need to preserve the best of the original concept of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We need to scrap what isn't working and we need to dedicate ourselves to the smartest thinking around education that our 21st Century teachers have to offer.

NCLB does not do for our children what ESEA set out to do. I do imagine that what we can do for our students will be fabulous and I want that as much now as I did when I entered this profession and even more than I want a Thunderbird.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Teacher Accountability

However, once teachers receive tenure status, evaluation and accountability diminish in many districts across Minnesota.”

-Tim Pawlenty, Governor-Minnesota in his February 13, 2008 State of the State Address

Clearly, Mr. Pawlenty has never stood in front of 5 distinctly different 7th grade English classrooms of 30 students each. Each of whom expect to be simultaneously and uniquely entertained and educated for 55 minutes. No one knows accountability better, more publicly, or more acutely than a teacher. In fact, I think we could teach him a thing or two about setting standards and meeting them.

Good teaching is the rule of our profession, not the exception, and I have examples of good teaching to show off throughout St. Paul Public Schools.