In Her Shell
Monday, March 10, 2008
  Some More Things That Frustrate Me About Public Education
1. Even though our school has a passing rate on The State Test in the mid-90s, we are still a "failing school" because one sub-group of students (special education) does not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

2. Many of our special ed students are not required to pass The State Test to graduate high school because of their disabilities, but they are still required to take it and their scores still count for our AYP.

3. AYP means every Y. Everyone is supposed to be passing The State Test by 2014. Everyone. 100%.

4. Because we have failed to meet AYP for several years, we are in danger of state takeover (read: privatization.)

5. If you were looking to turn public education into a profit system, good job.

6. Our school is in such a panic about this that regular curriculum has been effectively abandoned in many of our classrooms, in favor of "test taking tips and practice."

7. The school has also decided to bribe students to try harder on The State Test by telling them that people with high scores will have points added to their grade in English and Math. Despite my strong objections (and the fact that my students think this is a stupid incentive) I have been told that I will have to do this. (Jury's still out on whether I will.)

8. Education in our state is funded primarily through property taxes, the quickest way to ensure inequity between rich and poor neighborhood schools.

9. In what other system do you find the whole thing being run by lay people? I understand that it is public ed, so the public is entitled to a say. But the last word? On everything from the business end to the curriculum? Given to people whose only required expertise about education is that they attended school. That's the Board of Education for you.

10. There are so many amazing things that go on in classrooms every day--so many vibrant teachers and students making connections and really learning and challenging each other and having fun--but the frustrating stuff takes center stage, people like me who are on the inside gripe loudly about it, and the reputation of public education just gets worse and worse.
I think you hit the nail on the head with the comment about lay people people being in charge. They never seem to ask the teachers what is wrong with the schools, and every teacher I know has just about the same list. We can't all be wrong.
If I'm reading this, why, why this means the computer must have lived through the Winter.

Hooray. Hooray. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Spring is coming!!
Do they understand the implications of mental impairment? Do they understand the impossibility of even attempting to test those who have impaired focus? I'm so very confused. This essentially means that any school that has a significant special ed population will fail. The end.
Having covered the education beat for a few years...Yep. You nailed everything.
Thanks peops. I am trying to stay strong. You help.
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