Every since subject area testing started in the school system, teachers are constantly bombarded with directives from administrators to "get them ready for the test." These test are said are said to be the best way to gauge student performance and if a teacher is doing their job. I could spend a lot of time writing about how this whole system of testing is flawed but I'll save that for another blog.
First, most if not all the pressure is put upon the teacher. If students do not pass these test, the teacher has to produce documentation that he/she did every intervention in the book to ensure they taught the child. Teachers are even told they could lose their jobs if a certain percentage doesn't pass. I remember a counselor at a faculty meeting telling teachers they could be sued by a parent whose child doesn't pass the test. The whole philospohy of education is screwed up when a teacher is blamed for a student's failure.
U.S History is a tested subject. Juniors have to pass this test to graduate. Teachers who do not teach a tested subject are often encouraged to help by teaching any related topic that might be on the test. I taught tenth grade World History so each year I would teach topics that would be covered on the U.S. History test the following year. It was my goal to prepare my students for this test; to give them a foundation to build upon.
I was turned out of the classroom on Feb. 26th. Up until that point, my students were ahead of the game in regards to material that would be on the U.S. History test. I was reallly looking forward to the topics of WWI, The Great Depression and WWII all of which are a big part of the subject area test.
I have recently learned from reliable sources that not much had happened in World History since March. Reports of students wondering aimlessly around the classroom, taking a few notes and socializing the remainder of the period are just a few examples of what I've learned. I was told of a couple of questions that were asked on the final exam. "What color are the desk in this room? How many desk are in this room?"
This infruiates me to no end. Each year I did my job in preparing my students for the test. Numerous students told me that the foundation they gained in World History prepared them not just for eleveth grade but for college. The administrators knew my record and often complimented me on my efforts.
I wonder if they told the superintendent this information? If testing is so important why did they fire a teacher who was getting results. Now about 120 students will be less prepared for the U.S. History Test next year. Will the scores be lower? Who knows. I do know that the U.S. History teachers are excellent in what they do and the scores will probably be fine, but one thing is for sure the students want be as prepared. I simply cannot understand it. Or maybe I do. Maybe the superintendent and school board members don't really give a damn about test scores. If a coach was winning games would he be fired and replaced with a less productive one? Not no but hell no! Could it be the leadership in the Jones County School District care more about the score on Friday nights than the scores coming from the classroom? I think actions speak louder than words. You be the judge.
Parents please hear me and mark these words. Until you change the leadership in the J.C.S.D. your child will never get the education they deserve. When you elect board members whose number one priortity is finding the winning coach for their school, what else can you expect? When you elect school board members who are let personal grudges influence what teachers will be in the classroom, can you expect anything more?
As far as the teacher who took my class, I don't really blame him as much as I do the administrators. The teacher was put into the class with no preparation and in the middle of the year. Plus he had never taught World History. But they should have known what was happening in the classroom or in this case what was not happening. After all they are ones who rant and rave that every teacher should work to get scores up. If truth be known, the administrators probably told the teacher to just do his best and don't worry about it. This has happened before.
No matter whose to blame, the education of the students were not held in high regard. To help ensure that students would stay on schedule, I offered any help I could give to the teacher placed in my class. I never got a call. Again,my main concern was that they be prepared for the next year.
Three months were wasted that could have been used to prepare students for a very important test. The class I taught should have continued once a teacher was put into place but it did not. I realize what some people will say when reading this. "He's just mad because he lost his job and is trying to make others look bad." Or maybe I actually care about the education of my former students. Why wasn't someone else put into my place that would prepare these students for the U.S. History subject area test? Again, I'm not saying this particular person is a bad teacher but the job was not being done. Why not put someone else in to do the job? If a pitcher in a baseball game is not performing well he is pulled. Educating students is not a game and should be treated with more urgency. Maybe I just live in a fantasy world and believe those in leadership will make the right decisions. That they are autually there to ensure are children are recieving a quality education.
Maybe the baffoons who call themselves leaders of the district and leaders of the school will correct this problem if they can be pulled away from discussing next's year football season. I doub Test scores? Who really gives a damn.