Poor Jill Tucker at The San Francisco Chronicle. She has been given the worst tasks – writing anything positive regarding education when the smoke screen and mirrors brought to us in California via NCLB, The Bush Years, SDAIE requirements, charter schools, Proposition 13 and so forth are mind bendingly awful. These ‘fixes’ appear most awful when seen through the rear view mirror while people such as Michelle Rhee are driving forward at 100 MPH and throwing crap out the windows of said vehicle – at teachers.
Apparently in all the positive accolades regarding test score improvement, some one some where was neglecting to look at the sign ahead regarding a CLIFF. Admittedly there are problems such as those of Nina Collins which are unique and definitely different. I can not imagine this is the story for the other 1,899 projected problem students. How could so many students be missing units? How could so many students be misdirected? Are the teachers going to be blamed/shamed again – for this?
None of the graduation requirements are new. In fact, these requirements have been around forever. What is new is parents and community members believing with their shallow little hearts and brains it has all been up to teachers. I am amazed the spin has not yet started for the blame game.
I really wonder if we had changed our focus just a bit from the prize of test scores to the reality of successful course completion, parents being held accountable, less drama surrounding how many charter schools can be propped up and reviling teachers if we would have made the ‘difference’ necessary for this article to never have been written. It is about focus. When we allow charter schools and the slippery slopes of test score calculations to become our focus, we let other, blindingly obvious problems slip into the background. No one could ever convince me they did not see this phenomenon coming – unless they were so busy following Michelle Rhee they simply lost their mind.
Teachers do not control the variables which bring about these types of conundrums – administrators control these issues. I hope people look up from what ever it is their head was buried in and recognize the problem – it is not test scores, rather, it is what we chose to focus and worship as the prize.