Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning to TEST or Learning to LIVE


Education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. John Dewey

While freedom to teach my children our faith has since proven one of my main joys of homeschooling, I will freely admit it was not my first motivation in considering home school.   Sadly I think the message being sent to the kids in the public school is the motivation to learn is to pass a test. The goal in my house is for the motivation behind learning is living the the joy of learning something new. 

The biggest motivator for our family to home school was my personal experience as a teacher with the aftermath of this "Accountability Movement". Homeschooling numbers have risen in the past 20 years, with many of the new homeschooling families not citing religion as their main reason for not sending their kids to public school. The past twenty years in the U.S. have also been termed the "Accountability Movement," as states are being held to mandatory tests of student achievement, which are expected to demonstrate a common core of knowledge that all citizens should have to be successful in this country.[1] As part of this overarching education reform movement, the nation’s governors and corporate leaders founded Achieve, Inc. in 1996 as a bi-partisan organization to raise academic standards, graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability in all 50 states.[2]  

The latest Common Core Standards have been a heated topic of debate with Home-schooling Families in my community, and I see it as another in the line if Federal Initiatives in the "Accountability Movement". I can't help believe many parents are also seeing the aftermath and how this "Accountability movement" has negatively effect the public school classroom.

To measure these new academic standards and keep teachers "accountable", there logically had to be a way for government to know what was happening in the classroom. The farther removed you are from the
student, the more generic the measurement of that standards is going to be. Here is an example of how the performance measurement gets more generic the father removed you are form the child:

Steps from the Student/ Performance Measurement
  1. Teacher=Personally Designed tests and personal observation of child
  2. Principal=Grade Books of Teachers
  3. School Board= Statistics based on grades/tests of ALL kid in School system
  4. State School Board= Statistic based on Standardized Tests of entire school district
  5. State Government=  Statistic based on Standardized tests in the County
  6. Federal Government= Statistic based on Standardized tests in each State
Everybody in the education system reports to someone else, and they must prove each child is learning.   No accountability=no money. Please note that I know from personal experiences that the vast majority of public school teacher put their hearts and souls into their classrooms. They spend their free time grading papers and their own money to buy supplies.   But no matter how much they try to make the best classroom possible, they are always accountable to someone above them. Remember to pray for these teachers as they do their best to reach kids in a broken system.  The homeschooling community as a whole could do a better job of praying for our public school teachers and kids.

 With all this information, in the end we decided to home-school to keep our children's curriculum being decided by a statistics based on a pile of test scores.


References


  1. ^ Gibbs, T. H. and Howley, A. (2000). “"World-Class Standards" and Local Pedagogies: Can We Do Both?” Thresholds in Education. ERIC Publications. 51 – 55.
  2. ^ "About Achieve." (2011) Achieve, Inc. http://www.achieve.org/about-achieve


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