Writing a letter to the President about the Education system
Your task is to participate in the ?Open Letter to Obama? project. In your letter please include the following elements:
1) Articulate a problem or question related to AT LEAST ONE of the topics we have covered in the course (e.g. school/community relationships; funding inequality; accountability; segregation; school choice; Standardized testing, curriculum etc?).
2) Articulate how you think the President should address that issue.
3) Make a connection with AT LEAST THREE course readings in a meaningful way. You should do more than simply make reference to a text; instead, you should use the text to illuminate your point and/or show a tension and/or ask a question.
topic is Standardized Testing and how it should be in my opinion taken out of the education system, or being majorly reduced and should not hold so much weight in the education system. Connect how standardized testing is connected to curriculum and how it takes away for much learning. And how the standardized testing today is only focused on Math and Reading and that’s not good, kids need more than just Math and Reading.
• Looking at successful school and wants to see it replicate it’s success
• She emerges as a critic and this becomes a position piece
• Characteristics of teacher culture that she saw
o Teacher and student burnout
o Teachers were no longer trusted to make their own curriculum, question of teaching autonomy and authority, scripted teaching and learning
• Testing emphasizes memorization and not teaching
• Teacher burnout and professional culture, turnover and disengagement
• Pg 104 economic purposes and not democratic ones
• Concerned about the narrowing of purpose
• Critiques the idea of democratic purposes
• Narrowed Curriculum
o Curriculum is very paced based on testing
o Reading and math are the only subjects that are being focused on
• Does the test guide what we do or measure what we do??
• Pg 55
• The teachers aren’t allowed to use their full selves, are the kids able to be creative at all?
• Testing culture – test at the end of the year and the data of the individual students wasn’t showed; only the data of the whole grade was shown. Didn’t give individualized feedback, Tyler Heights was really boring and the curriculum wasn’t exciting at all to students
o Decontextualized learning (had to know the pieces of a poem, but not what the poem meant)
o Point of doing this testing was to close the achievement gap of the kids at Tyler Heights
o Test scores were looked at comparatively as a policy changer – standardized data
o Kids at different schools in the same district take the same test
o The logic between the standardized testing was to promote equality and compare context to context
• Perlstein said the culture at Crofton (all white school in affluent culture) had more freedom and a greater degree of teacher autonomy
o Kids at Crofton had experiential knowledge because they were read to at home and their parents did their homework with them (p. 137)
o Real life applicability of what they did – at Tyler Heights there was a disconnect between their real life and what they did at school
o At Crofton the curriculum was richer and they had stuff that they were doing in social studies and science to work into their curriculum, this did not happen at Tyler Heights where the curriculum was very focused on the measurements of the testing
• Imagination Gap – There is a prescribed way of thinking at the urban schools, but at the other schools there is a different way of approaching learning where kids get to use their imagination (p 130)
o Kids being able to imagine themselves doing things based on the things that they are learning in school.
o Pearlstein says that it is possible that the kind of stuff that we do in school that promotes the testing culture is actually shrinking the imagination that students need most.
o The very policy that we put in place to shrink the achievement gap is actually shrinking the achievement gap between students.
o What if the policies of the achievement gap do the opposite? (p.135)
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