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Policy Issues

I was tagged in a twitter post this afternoon from the most amazing Kas Nelson (@kasnelson – you should follow her).

It got my brain thinking, then a range of emotions flooded in, mostly anger.

Here is the tweet:

Twitter - Kas

Here is something that cannot be stressed enough to those who are not living inside the education system everyday – we do what we are legislated to do.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate pass laws concerning education, and teachers are required by law, to follow those laws.

This particular student is referencing the mandatory testing of 8 and 9 year olds in reading.  If they do not pass the reading test, then they must repeat the 3rd grade.  It is the law.  I have a third grader this year, she is already talking about her test she needs to pass.  Third graders should NEVER, EVER have to worry about a test.  NEVER. EVER.

One of the biggest problems with this reading test, is the fact that the test is not totally a reading test.  To my understanding, it is made up of two separate parts, and you can actually pass the reading portion and fail the test.  Please correct me in the comments if this is incorrect – I never lived in the third grade world…

Here is the other problem – students learn things at different rates.  I have three of my own children and they all learned to ride a bike at different ages.  They learned to walk at different ages and they learned to talk at different ages.  They are each unique and different.  They are not clones that reach specific learning markers on specific dates after birth.

The next key thing is that test grades are becoming more intertwined with teacher evaluation.  That creates a pressure situation for a teacher to ensure that all of her/his 3rd graders pass.  As adults we try really hard to not pass those stresses onto our students.  Guess what?  Students notice.

For those out there clamoring that our educational system is failing – I would ask you to examine exactly what is failing?  Maybe it is the policy that has been created that is failing our students and our teachers.

Rant over…continue with regularly schedule programming…


About Scott

My name is Scott. After 18.5 years as a high school math teacher in public education I have made the move to become a full time PhD student. This decisions was difficult, but has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. Teaching in high school was an incredible experience for me, so leaving an environment that I loved for the unknown was a challenge. As I high school teacher, I taught almost every math course that could be offered. I was able to earn National Board Certification in Young Adult Math. I was honored as my building Teacher of the Year, no mean feat at Edmond Memorial High School!! My career changed as I became fascinated with educational technology and all of the things that it can do for teachers. I flipped my class. I used iPads and blogging (in high school math!!). I started using gamification and mastery learning. I changed my practice. I chose to go back to school to learn as much as I could. To bring that knowledge from academia and research to the teacher on the front line. I have had the opportunity to present at several conferences and share what I have learned with others. Its through these connections that we can be the best teachers we can for our students. They deserve it and we sell ourselves short when we don't give it. I love talking with teachers about change. About incorporating educational technology. About the power that they have to change lives. My blog space is me, it shares my passions and frustrations, my joys and my learnings. If you are interested in what I am studying, please visit my graduate school pages. If you are interested in the flipped classroom, I have some links to get your started. I would love to meet you! Do not hesitate to reach out! I would enjoy the opportunity to work with your staff or trade ideas with your teachers - let me know! Have a great day! #BeBrilliant


One thought on “Policy Issues

  1. I agree with suggestions to follow Kaz Nelson (@kaznelson)! What a letter… It is truly tragic that the policy makers cannot understand or support effective learning. Stressing third graders and their teachers is flat out wrong!!!

    Effective learning is absolutely critical lifelong! The best time to facilitate the development of and habitual use of these skills is during formal education, starting early. Early in formal education is when the self-control and love of learning must be facilitated as well. They go hand in hand, building on cultures of learning – at home and school.

    Contrast that scenario with the one you paint, that your daughter and the letter writer are experiencing… It appears to me, sadly, that the politicians and policy people are not open to reason with regard to these ridiculous mandates. I’m wondering if there is any other option than to tolerate the mandatory testing and associate rules – while ignoring all others in order to facilitate effective learning AND, likely, improve those test scores! Then how do those politicians and policy people respond???

    Finally, not responsive to this post for sure… But politicians favoring the oil/gas industry over education is at least to me borderline unethical, maybe criminal! My personal opinion only…


    Posted by jcbjr9455 | December 13, 2015, 3:50 pm

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