Education Reform: Starting at the Beginning

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I heard a report today on NPR about the school officials in Atlanta who have been accused of racketeering for cheating on tests in order to gain bonus pay and status for their schools. This sad situation is indicative of many problems with education today, but two glaring examples are the demands of education reform that started with No Child Left Behind and the high demands, increasingly low pay and decreases in pay in the field of education.

The No Child Left Behind Act increased student and teacher accountability, tests and led to the development of the Common Core Standards. All of these are noble changes, well-intentioned changes and no one is arguing that change was needed, but the implementation of the changes in all grade levels meant that the students in grade 1-12 were held to standards for which they were not prepared. I teach Transitional Kindergarten and am able to meet the standards most of the time because the students enter my class and I start from the very beginning. If you were a 5th grade teacher, students would enter your class and suddenly be expected to jump up to the much higher demands of the new standards.

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