De La Soul’s Stakes Is High
In my latest post at the new Collaborateurs blog (formerly known as Future of Teaching), I bring up a small group of people (including Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, David Johns) to task about assessment:
It’s not that I disagreed with him per se. While the argument he made was generic enough that everyone could agree, I felt the general tenor of his argument made it seem like teachers aren’t “in” on what he’s talking about. His argument hinges on the idea that the resistance to the current political climate stems from teachers not wanting to assess children. It’s a weird argument since I don’t know of a teacher who doesn’t want to find out what their students can do and already know, whether the assessment is teacher-made or otherwise.
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Mr. Vilson, who’s got a few more days until his own high-stakes assessment …
Here’s the first in a two-part essay about Bill Gates’ interview with The Washington Post:
He is correct in stating that students get evaluated all the time, from the first time they enter a classroom all the way through college and beyond. Getting a degree demands having plenty of tests getting thrown at you, high-stakes or otherwise. These tests often determine if you achieve the next level or not, and whether we like them or not. That’s our current education system, so ramping up the amount of tests only perpetuates the status quo. I’m not in the camp that says, “Teachers shouldn’t get evaluated, but students should.” Professionals get evaluations all the time.
I just can’t help but wonder if we actually evaluate students the right way, and if the measure we currently have for student achievement helps determine success in life after college. One should argue that far too many factors come into play when looking on a case-by-case basis.
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Clearly, we need to define what “teacher” means a little more, and “educator,” for that matter. We also need to understand what that means for teacher voice. I spark a discussion here:
The term “celebrity teacher” is such a difficult one too, because it presumes that the spotlight should focus strictly on the teacher and not on the ways in which that teacher helps students. The profession doesn’t lend itself to alpha dogs and sunbathers of the egoistic type. Yet, I have a hard time with the idea that, in a landscape with people so replete with opinions about our profession, that we shouldn’t have the same viability when we speak about it ourselves.
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I’m usually a fan of teacher leadership, but sometimes, it makes me nervous. Observe:
I wonder if teachers who are deemed teacher leaders understand why so many of us put teacher in front of leader when speaking in front of teacher leadership.
This falls on some of our colleagues too, who jump right into the teacher leadership role and misunderstand what comes with the title i.e. the perception that, yes, they will lead as teachers. No teacher should have to feel reserved when it comes to their professional opinion, but fellow teachers do value expertise and approach when it comes to leadership, no matter who it comes from.
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Mr. Vilson, who had to ask …