Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Long and Winding Road To Educational Reform!

Educational reform could be great thing if it was approached in the right way. Instead we have been in such a hurry to catch up with the rest of the world, that we have not taken the appropriate amount of time to calmly look at the situation, evaluate it, and make changes that are beneficial to our children. There have been some good intentions and then there has also been grandstanding and waste. Since we have been in such a hurry we have taken a winding road instead of the most direct route. One of the most controversial issues involved in education, concerns student objectives and assessments.

I truly believe that in order to figure out where our deficits are, we need to not only have common objectives throughout the United States, but we also need to have a common assessment as to whether those standards have been achieved. Up until this point with the separation of objectives and assessment, educators have been scrambling to do whatever they can to measure up. Unless the goals and assessments are universal then we have opened up Pandora's Box.

There will be posturing by states and districts to produce the best results. There will be unfair and unjust judgments concerning educational programs in certain areas and schools. Worst of all, there will be those who cheat in order to secure their positions.

The point in having standards, and in proper assessment, is to assure that our students are getting the education they need to survive in this world. If that is not happening, then we need to take each individual situation and evaluate them based on their own situational circumstances. Then we need to form a plan to lift the position of the students in that area. We should never use such an assessment as a means of punishing. Instead, we should channel the help that is needed to that particular situation, so that student performance will improve.

To often demographics and assets are not taken into consideration. They need to be in each case. Once changes are made then there should be a reasonable time period allowed to look for improvement. After all of those things have happened, then an assessment of the actual mechanics of the situation should be evaluated and dealt with. With national standards and assessments it is imperative that leave the administration and the fixes up to the individual states.

We have been in such a hurry to evoke reform that we have sacrificed good teachers, administrators and systems when the only thing that needed to be done was uniform objectives, assessments and non threatening assistance.

I realize that things are changing quickly and that critical thinking skills are paramount. That is not a reason for us to panic! If we can build a solid base as our predecessors did when they formed the constitution then we will have what we need to have a rock solid educational system.

Found on