A case against standards
K-12 teachers and teacher educators must be afforded the autonomy of professionals--not further bureaucracy and invalid accountability.
Standards linked to accountability and certification have always and will always be reduced to providing evidence as part of a compliance process; that evidence has always and will always, then, be reduced to assessments that are manageable (thus quantifiable) so that those being held accountable can manage the bureaucracy--always at the expense of quality pedagogy and scholarship. In short, regardless of the quality of these NCTE/NCATE standards, the process will fail those standards and all educators involved.
The National Council of Teachers of English is a powerful organization composed of the leading literacy educators in the United States. NCTE should speak for those literacy educators by rejecting the increased mechanistic approaches to teacher education that de-professionalize the field further and are destined to ask less and less of those educators as the bureaucracy increases and the accountability remains punitive and misguided.
I feel to offer high quality standards without considering to what ends those standards will be used is negligent for our organization.
The National Council of Teachers of English has raised a similar voice of expertise about the failure of the College Board's adding the writing section to the SAT--that the writing section contributes to the isolated use of the SAT (college readiness) does not excuse the test from trampling on writing pedagogy (Ball, et al., 2005).
I hope that concerns such as mine have a place in the debate within an organization that I value and within which I am a member. I believe my view is not a fringe stance or a lone voice, and I also believe it stands on a significant body of evidence--some of which is included below.
Ball, A., Christensen, L., Fleischer, C., Haswell, R., Ketter, J., Yageldski, R., & Yancey, K. (2005, April 16). The impact of the SAT and ACT timed writing tests. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Freire, P. (1998). Pedagogy of freedom: Ethics, democracy, and civic courage. Trans. P. Clarke. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Ă˘€”Ă˘€”Ă˘€” . (2005). Teachers as cultural workers: Letters to those who dare to teach. Trans. D. Macedo, D., Koike, & A., Oliveira. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Kincheloe, J. L, & Weil, D. (2001). Standards and schooling in the United States, vols. 1-3. Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO.
Schmidt, R., & Thomas, P. L. (2009). 21st century literacy: If we are scripted, are we literate? Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.
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