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Teachers, Testing, & Civil Disobedience


Note:Teacher Leaders Network, is part of Center for Teaching Quality.

Sponsors

(from the website)The support of the Teacher Leaders Network sponsors has allowed for the creation of a unique community â where experienced educators can hone their instructional and leadership skills, while also opening a window into the daily victories and challenges of classrooms nationwide. The Center for Teaching Quality is indebted to the organizations below, who were instrumental in embracing the early vision of TLN or who have made a continued commitment to this valuable resource possible.

* AT&T Foundation (and the former BellSouth Foundation)

* Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

* Ford Motor Company Fund

* George Gund Foundation

* GlaxoSmithKline Community Partnerships

* The Joyce Foundation

* National Education Association

* Wachovia Foundation

* Washington Mutual

* Z. Smith Reynolds Foundations

Think about the sponsors as you read this denunciation of Carl Chew, posted on the Teacher Magazine website.

Think about the role EdWeek.org plays in putting the lid on civil disobedience and in promoting the agenda advertisers pay for.


by Bill Ferriter, a NC teacher who blogs for Teacher Leaders Network

Whether we like it or not, we're public employees, and taxpayers invest a heaping load of cash into what it is that we do. In most places, elected officials determine the curriculum and elected officials determine the methods we use to assess that curriculum. To make the kind of stand this guy made essentially says we don't respect or value the decisions made by the communities we serve.

Isn't an action like Chewâs a bit arrogant? Doesn't the broader community have the right to select the kinds of assessment tools that they'd like to see applied to schools? After all, it is their kids we're speaking about and their dollars we're spending.

The way I see it, standardized testing is wrong. It has destroyed what I do in my classroom each year, changed the dynamic of teaching and learning completely, and has done far more damage that it has done good.

But it is a system selected and believed in by the people who pay my check. And (in theory) it's based on the values and beliefs of a group of people that go far beyond me. For those reasons, I choose to honor and respect the system even though I don't totally believe in it.

What I've worked to do is make my thinking on the testing issue as transparent as can be. I write about it often, both on my blog, in the local newspaper, and on a blog I keep for my school district. Every conversation that I get into with parents, reporters, and business leaders is all about the harm this kind of testing does.

Because (like most teachers) I have great credibility in the community, people are slowly starting to listen and to speak up. There is a swell of pushback against testing (and) eventually, I believe, that swell will lead to change in the system because it will lead to a fundamental change in the way the community feels about assessment. We will have come to consensus through productive conflict and conversation, rather than a confrontational "us v. them" pyrrhic victory.

You can read comments about this post at the Teacher Magazine site



— Teacher Leaders Network blog
Teacher Magazine

2008-05-01

http://www.teachermagazine.org/tm/articles/2008/04/30/31tln_norton.h19.html

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