Monday, January 23, 2012

Invest in Kids, Not Test Scores

This article in the Oregonian, "Invest in Kids, Not Test Scores" got me through a really tough morning.

I had stayed up until 2 am grading papers and entering semester grades so that my students would be able to know exactly what work they were missing. It was a bit depressing as some students just failed to turn anything in.

Under the proposed OEIB model that values high-stakes testing, it would seem that my future evaluation as a highly effective teacher would be tied to my students' efforts. What is ironic is that I work hard all the time to do my best, and that includes using personal time to make it work. Yet, if work isn't turned in, my job could be on the line.

Poverty plays a huge role in why my students don't turn in their work on time or at all, many don't read independently at home, they are expected to take care of their siblings as both parents work, and they are hungry, tired, parents aren't literate themselves and can't help with homework, and often have stressful home lives.

What is missing from the OEIB NCLB waiver proposal and Learnworks Plan is any truly practical and useful investment in our kids that helps remediate the effects of poverty.

So, why hold me accountable when the odds are stacked against me and the students? Instead we should be holding the state accountable for not providing the necessary stable and adequate funding to schools and wrap-around services that are proven to help all students, especially students of poverty.

“Poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue; it is hard for an empty bag to stand upright."

--Benjamin Franklin

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