One of the biggest problems I have with our current national assessment system is that they have almost mastered the art of shaming and belittling those who do not make the cut while doing an exceptionally poor job of of recognizing those who have made strides in a positive direction or really give an exceptional effort at doing more with less. It’s as if under-performing the task of meeting their objectives deserves a SHOUTING DOWN FROM THE ROOFTOPS while those that make gains, small, medium or even large, get virtually nada other than a stuffy look over the nose of horned-rimmed glasses with a sense of, “Come on, ya know you gotta do better, right?” attached to their gaze.
When it comes to fear-mongering and draconian punishment, our national assessment system knows how to make front page news out of any school in the nation. When it comes to positive, small steps in the right direction, they don’t even know how to send over a “pat on the back” well-done, thank you card.
And really, who wants to work for a boss that only knows how to highlight your shortcomings without knowing how to recognize your achievements? I mean come on, to look at all that is actually being achieved in our schools today — and oh yes, there is a lot — you would think by the way it gets acknowledged by the powers-that-be that there was actually little to nothing of merit actually going on in the halls of our nationa’s educational system.
For example, my principal and I had a 45 minute phone call last night that started at 9:15 pm and school doesn’t even start until Friday. Actually, it was supposed to start on Tuesday but there was no money for “buy back” days so Tues and Wed were scratched due to budget cuts. So then Thursday was supposed to be our first day back but that was scratched as well because now it’s a furlough day. So essentially, we will start with Friday as our first and only day back with adults only before school actually begins (with kids) on Monday.
That’s one day to get a staff of nearly 200 people ready to go. In a school that is on Dante Circle of NCLB hell number 6 or something like that right now.
Uhm, hello… are we not already being set up to under-achieve just a wee bit. I mean I wonder whether or not everyone is even going to be able to get their room keys on Friday — forget being all on the same page as far as the zillion other details that run hand-in-hand with being part of a huge urban school go.
And does our school get any credit for the fact that there are a host of folks preparing on their own time, using their own money? Does my principal get any love for have left 19 days of paid contractual vacation time on the table this year so he could work to do a better job for our kids.
Where’s the attention to that?
When the month of May rolls around and Lynwood takes it on the chin (not they we absolutely will — it’s not a foregone conclusion and I certainly am holding out hope we can turn this puppy around — and working my tail off to do it as well), I wonder if it comes with at least a recognition of, “but to their credit, back in August, do you see what kind of effort they were at least trying to make?”
In too many ways, August can be the tail that wags the dog.