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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. 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.
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. 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.
5. 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.
6. Special Education vs General Education
As the number of school children diagnosed with special needs soars, many schools face bankruptcy in their attempts to meet federal mandates to serve this demographic. Like other areas of public education, special education is in serious need of reform.
7. Teacher Preparation Grades 7-12
Professional educators in control of teacher preparation concern themselves more with theory than with the practical considerations of teaching real children in real school settings. A first step in meaningful education reform would be to break the stranglehold of university education departments.
8. 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.
9. 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.
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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