We are destroying a generation of teachers.
I am a teacher in metro Atlanta. My principal is a NCLB/school reform maniac. We are under intense pressure to raise the test scores in our Title 1 school. We are being dictated to from the top down not only on what we teach, but also on how we teach. We are being watched, scrutinized, and listened in on (by intercom).
The teachers are under such pressure that just in the last year one has died of a heart attack, and another has been disabled by a stroke (both teachers relatively young - 50-51). I, myself, have been to the hospital numerous times with high blood pressure, heart palpitations and chest pains (I am 39 and never had heart or blood pressure problems before going to work at this school last year).
The kids hate school. There is no fun, no enthusiasm. We have been ordered to teach NOTHING that isn't on the state tests. Each month we are presented with a new cure-all that we must incorporate. The principal even suggests dropping science and social studies since these scores do not count for AYP. We made AYP last year, but probably will not this year because of our special ed population. The principal's response--do NOTHING in special ed except teach the test. My son is in special ed for Asperger's. He goes to learn social skills and communication skills, but this is not to be allowed any more. All special ed time is to be spent teaching reading and math test-taking skills--PERIOD. Since my son's special ed teacher is the one who had a stroke, he is not even getting special ed services at all (never mind that it is dictated in his IEP).
The teachers in our school have a can't do anything about it, so better go along attitude. They have stopped doing anything interesting and innovative. I am the social studies coordinator, and I was told when I tried to get teachers to participate in the social studies fair that it was not pertinent to the test, so they were not participating. Some have even quit teaching anything in social studies except reading passages that practice CRCT skills.
Amazingly enough, I have signed on for another year of this madness. The kids are what matters to me, and someone has to stay who will be a buffer for them. Thank you for this web site. Knowing I am not alone helps. I will put my vote and my money where my mouth is.