Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

When your teachers care about you so much that they help you cheat on state tests because they don't think you can learn, what exactly is it that they care about?


Ellen K said...

This makes me so angry. We as teachers are drilled and threatened that if we even dare to sit down during the three hour ordeal of state testing, we can lose our certification. So the tests and their results are very personal. When I hear all this nonsense on which states rank higher and lower, it makes me angry. We have far more kids that are non-English speakers than any state except California. And we have to test all kids-the disabled, the mentally ill, the non-English speaker, the truant, the troublemakers. All those scores are counted in our state records. My schools rating went down from Exemplary to Recognized because of the results from eight African American and low income students out of a school of over 3,000 kids. And yet some snide yahoo will say "well Texas ranks...blah, blah, blah" Then we hear of various states where cheating is common. How can anyone compare groups knowing that some people are not playing by the rules?

mrelliott said...

First the Atlanta school district, now this. I think a lot of this is going to start coming out of the "wood work." The high stakes pressure to achieve has caused all sorts of unethical, illegal, and cheating behavior in our nations schools. I know it was present in the last high school I taught at.

Wrote a book about it, but can't get an interested literary agent. I don't have a national platform, which means I am not well known. It's been an eye opening experience that in our country, its not about WHAT is being said, but WHO is saying it, and if the who is well known enough to sell books, then it doesn't matter what is said.

Darren said...

Have you considered self-publishing? There are lots of reputable sites on l'internet....

Anonymous said...

Mrelliott, a book *HAS* been written about widespread cheating on these sorts of standardized tests.

20 years ago.

By John J. Cannell.

Entitled "The 'Lake Wobegon' Report, How Public Educators Cheat on Standardized Achievement Tests."

It got attention and it led to a Sixty Minutes segment, too.

You can read the followup here:

Short version: Nothing changed because, in general, not enough people care.


-Mark Roulo

Ellen K said...

Right now a troubled suburban Dallas school is dealing with one of the dubious hires from Atlanta. She's not working, but she's getting paid because the board can't reach a decision. Sadly, this splits down racial lines rather than down lines of right and wrong. As for publishing a book, the main publishers for this type of thing are literary publishing through universities. The problem lies in the fact that university education departments are responsible for many of the questions and testing procedures. A friend of mine wanted to do his doctorate on comparison of high stakes testing and college success. The state run university shut him down and he ended up dropping out of the program. What is sadder still is that this highly regarded Chemistry and Upper level math teacher left public education because of the testing mandates. He felt the sequencing of having freshmen students answer chemistry and physics questions before they take the class was trapping kids. Last I heard this teacher, who had been State of Texas Chemistry teacher and an AP Reader for years, has left education altogether.

mrelliott said...

Darren, I am researching self-publishing as we speak, and most likely will use this avenue. Thanks for the suggestion.

Mark, I did not know about the book, and thanks I will check it out. My book addresses the unethical and illegal practices I saw going on in the schools once NCLB was in place, however it also addresses other areas which I feel are eroding away at our educational system. You are completely correct when you state that no one cares.

I have just made a transition in my own career and will begin teaching at the university level this fall, and a private university, no less. Ellen, I agree with you in that universities have had too much negative influence on our nation's schools, especially the liberal minded ones. It's a shame when someone wants to get the truth out there only to be muzzled.

Anonymous said...

"You are completely correct when you state that no one cares."

Some people care. Just not enough to change anything.

-Mark Roulo