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Here are the top ten articles for the School Reform Site! These rankings are live and get reset at the beginning of each month, so check back often to see what your fellow visitors are most interested in!
1. Firing Teachers Won't Improve U.S. Education
Judging by responses to a recent NPR report on a lawsuit to make it easier to fire California teachers, many members of the public seem to see public school teachers as a species of self-sacrificing missionaries dedicated to acting as surrogate parents to every child who enters their classroom.
2. The Testing Opt-Out Movement
Parents and teachers distressed by the effect of ever-increasing state-mandated standardized testing of younger and younger children are at the heart of a grassroots movement to resist what they see as a mindless process that has little to do with education or the mental well-being of children.
3. Educational Goals vs U.S. Culture
Efforts at school reform without an overhaul of U.S. cultural priorities are pie in the sky.
4. Criticism of Reform Not Welcome
Top-tier reformers like Arne Duncan and state superintendents don't want to listen to the valid criticisms of parents, principals, and teachers. They meet complaints by taking the high ground, equating their untried, testing-heavy education reforms with the moral struggle for civil rights.
5. Class Size
Beware of smoke and mirror reasoning fostered by entrepreneurs whose principal agenda is the discrediting of the public schools and the rechanneling of public monies into the private business sector.
6. Common Core Mission Statement
Subjecting the Common Core mission statement to the kind of close reading recommended by the Standards reveals a goal that is lacking in the human element. Job skills are not enough to get a person through the disappointments, tragedies and humiliations of 60-80 years of living.
7. Politicians and Education
Efforts to improve the academic quality of U.S. public schools continue to fail because legislation that ties everything to standardized test scores and makes scapegoats of teachers is totally out of touch with the reality of U.S. culture.
8. Teacher Evaluation Scam
Public education is falling prey to the educational consulting scams proliferating as a result of the latest corporate approach to school reform. The Danielson Group is making millions offering services that an educated school workforce ought to be able to do for themselves.
9. Cut Scores and Priorities
Cut scores are selected points on the scoring scale of a test. Like the tests they are created for, cut scores are arbitrary. As the new Common Core Standards bring a new set of federal priorities to American education, it's more important than ever for parents to take charge.
10. What is Proficiency?
Every state is permitted by law to define "reading proficiency" according to their own guidelines. As a result, states often rate their children at a higher level of proficiency than the NAEP does. Parents must adopt their own guidelines and test their children themselves.
Be sure to visit the School Reform Archives for all the articles!
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