Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tell Them What YOU Think About Testing #elev8ed #cpchat

On October 4, there was a once in a lifetime, online gathering of progressive education reform thinkers called, Elevating the Education Reform Dialog. I missed it. Fortunately, several participants live-tweeted the event and Shelly Terrell gathered sounds bites on her blog. This and my last post are devoted to this event.

Despite what we think as educators, most Americans think we SHOULD be testing / measuring kids #elev8ed (tweet by Scott McLeod)

I would argue that most Americans think this is the case because we have not done a very good job speaking up. As educators we need to grab ahold of the message and start shouting it every day.

Earlier, during the noon (EST) #edchat, someone mentioned that many teachers do not like the spotlight. I always found it strange that teachers can stand in front of children for 6 hours a day, but hate to speak to adults. Strange or not, I know many teachers who truly hate any attention other than in class.

To all of those limelight hating teachers, I say that you have to speak up. If you do not take the spotlight on your own terms, then you will have to stand back and watch as the LA Times turns the spotlight on you. If you do not speak up now, your "performance rating" will be public.* The spotlight will be on you completely on their terms.

If you are not sure how to speak up, here are just a few suggestions. First, read Chris Lehmann's post in Huffington Post. Then leave a comment. Next share your views with your community members; make sure they know that the current brand of ed reform is not good for children and learning. Then, write letters, send emails, tweet, or carrier pigeon (for crying out loud).

Testing by itself is not evil. We just need to let everyone know that using those tests for the wrong purpose and relying on them is not in the best interest of our children.

*Please note that the quotes there are meant to show great disdain for using test results, etc. to rate teachers.