Sunday, June 5, 2011

Not Waiting for Superman

Stan Karp: Questions
Who's bashing teachers and public schools, and what can we do about it?
  1. Karp says that the bashing is coming from different places for different reasons.  What are some of the reasons that educators today are being blamed for and from who are the complaints coming from?
  2. The firing of teachers at the high school in Central Falls made national news. Teachers were solely being blamed for students not achieving the standards and failing state assessments.  As we know, there are good and bad teachers like there are good and bad individuals in every profession.  What do you feel is an appropriate system of accountability for teachers?  How can society support teachers who are working in a low income neighborhoods where these students at some point were not given the same opportunities or experiences of that of their peers due to the culture of power and or financial status?
  3. Test score gaps have been used to label schools as failures without providing the resources and strategies needed to eliminate the gaps.  What do you think are the gaps? What resources and strategies do you think would bring about positive change to this problem?
  4. Do you think the diversity plan in Wake County, North Carolina  which focuses on limiting the number of poor students in any school to less than 40% a good plan to close achievement gaps?
  5. Karp says, "There is no research that shows paying teachers to raise test scores improves student achievement, raises graduation rates, increases college participation, narrows academic gaps or any of the positive school outcomes that policy makers say they seek".  With this being looked at as a possible means to evaluate and compensate teachers, what are your thoughts? What problems can you see with this method?
     I found this article most interesting because it is something all educators face on a daily basis whether it is through the media, parents, community members, school officials, and or colleagues.   Teachers today are often misjudged and under an attack from members of the media and community who are not privy to all of the facts pertaining to the achievement gaps and the failing educational system.  Teaching today is not an easy endeavor and we are faced with many challenges that often involve sacrifices on our part.  Typically, with our time and finances.  I was most disappointed by a quote Karp mentions in this article.  "Instead, at a time when corporate profits and economic inequality are at their highest levels in the history of the country, the Secretary of Education says that schools must get used to the "new normal" and do more with less. As an educator, it is hard to remain positive when you are criticized and devalued publicly and frequently. I plan on sharing this article with my principal and colleagues since many of the ideas and points in this article were recently discussed at a faculty meeting.  I also am eager to engage in discussion in class pertaining to the points Stan Karp spoke of. 


    1. Nicole,

      You came up with some really great questions. I particularly enjoyed #4. "Do you think the diversity plan in Wake County, North Carolina which focuses on limiting the number of poor students in any school to less than 40% a good plan to close achievement gaps?" When reading that quote in Karp's presentation it made me pause. If this is something that they have found to work in North Carolina then why not?

    2. Great questions Nicole! #2 reminds me of our discussion of Kozol yesterday. I am sure these questions will come up for discussion in class tomorrow!

    3. I am glad this felt like a relevant text -- real and connected to your lives as teachers. i am looking forward to talking about it tomorrow!

    4. Hi Nicole
      You did a really good job with your blog. I was not sure how to complete the questions blog, but your blog gave me some great ideas! Thanks:)

    5. Nicole,
      You came up with some really great questions that really require anyone reading to stop and think.
      -Jen S.