Now Playing» Band: AC/DC Record: Highway to Hell Believe or not, we’re feeling the pressure down in the boogie and snot zone in New Jersey. I want to make my points quick and painless. “This won’t hurt a bit,” crooned Nurse Wilkes. Famous last words before she smashed Paul Sheldon’s legs into kibbles-n-bits. (Misery-Stephen King) Two things: 1.The government is holding teachers accountable for their teaching by issuing different types of standardized tests: Some bubble, some illogical essay, some what-have-you. If you don’t play, you will pay. Here’s my question: What about the beginning teacher? What training did they receive in order to enter a profession that is rapidly turning into a nasty business? In New Jersey, a teacher-in-training student teaches for maybe three months with a veteran teacher before they are thrown into the pit. Are they ready to be held accountable? It’s bad enough that the tests are an inadequate technique to measure student and teacher performance. But to put a beginning teacher with three months of on-site training (maybe three weeks on their own) under the microscope is just ludicrous. 2.This is straight from the New Jersey DOE. Standard 3.2: “Students should be helped to understand the recursive nature and shifting perspectives of the writing process, in moving from the role of writer to the role of reader and back again. It is important for students to understand that writers write, then plan and revise, and then write again. They will learn to appreciate writing not only as a product, but also a process and mode of thinking and communicating.” Sounds great doesn’t it? (I’m not being sarcastic) It does. It’s real writing. I am proud that my state understands real writing. Now here’s the cloud, the thick poisonous cloud that I don’t get. Third graders are assessed by a twenty-five minute first draft. Third graders are assessed by a twenty-five minute first draft. Third graders are assessed by a twenty-five minute first draft. Third graders are assessed by a twenty-five minute first draft. Eight-year-olds, dude! The scores are published and the parents say, “what the ____?” Teachers are judged. Changes are made. The standards shine and the assessment is in the toilet. (Well, it should be.) We are accountable.
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