The following post is a guest post from Chris, a teacher in Arkansas. I am printing his first name only because Chris, like many public school teachers, fears reprisal if he publicly speaks out about the current education system. The views and opinions reflected in this piece are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Roadkill Goldfish.
Graduation rates are up in the U.S., and yet people complain workforce and college readiness is down.
Put the two together, and it sounds like we are solving the graduation rate problem by lowering the standards.
Blame the teachers, and forget about high standards, personal responsibility and hard work. The men and women in the classroom are now solely responsible for student success and all that comes with it.
Kids are hungry? Teachers feed them.
Kids need class to be like a game, teachers make it like a game.
Kids need after school tutoring? Teachers stay late to help them.
Families need to be more involved in education? Teachers are responsible for parental involvement.
There is an achievement gap? Teachers must close it.
Schools are a product of the communities they serve, but it is the teachers who are on the hook.
Something has to change, and I believe we will redefine success. There are financial and political windfalls for the groups that secure their spot in the standards setting, test making, and curriculum writing circle, and they’ll fight to keep it. They might fight dirty. Whoever controls this closed circle gets to define success.
While reading an online forum, I found an instructor at a for-profit college who shared his frustration with a very warped example of success. One of his students had not come to class all semester, and showed up 10 minutes late on what happened to be a test day.
“This person looked up at me and said: “What the (expletive) is this?,” balled up the test paper, literally threw it at me, and then stormed out of the classroom, slamming the door,” the instructor wrote. ” Despite the fact that he had exceeded the program’s published absentee policy, he was permitted to pass. He ultimately only attended one class all term, out of nearly 50 classes.”
Success equals showing up for two percent of your classes?
To relieve teachers (and students) from the stress of unreasonable expectations, we adjust the definition of success – the meaning of a diploma. The colleges are forced to adjust as well; if they don’t, there is no student body.
Then businesses hire these students for whom success has continually been adjusted, their productivity suffers, and we worry about a society no longer values high standards for success, personal responsibility or hard work.
Blame the teachers.
What do you think about this perspective? Please share your thoughts in the column section below.