Tuesday, February 15, 2011

O is for Oh, That F-in' Test

For the past year, I've been toying with the idea of starting a self-governed school.  The past two months I've been working with a small team to write a letter of intent and full application.  While I firmly believe that the model we are working with is strong and will create successful citizens of the world, my passion and desire to follow through are dwindling quickly.

I received and email from a colleague that was working with us initially.  Below is part of the email:
The fastest way to get students to pass the test is through direct instruction, "sage on the stage". While they possibly can pass the test, we are then only developing a generation of test takers, not a generation of future problem solvers or critical thinkers. Basically they are not gaining knowledge using this method, only a very narrow skill set that applies nowhere other than standardized test.
Oh, that F-in' test.  I can't argue against anything in that paragraph.  I wish I could.

I firmly believe that, in math for instance, with a high quality teacher teaching directly to the test, our school could meet the NCLB standards.   That's not what it is about.

So, right now, for me, it boils down to this: What good is this is school going to do that I am proposing?  There are two outcomes:
  • We teach directly to the test and get enough students to pass at the required NCLB level.
  • We teach to create problem solvers and critical thinkers with a wide skill set.
I'm not sold on the fact that both can be done in the team allotted for a new school to be successful.  If not, what's the point in creating a successful model for future success when it will be shut down in just three years because we aren't passing The Test?  It will just be labeled another failing school.

This post is extremely negative and I apologize for that.  I'm just seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. 

O is for Oh, That F-in' Test

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