children raised hands classroom

School ‘Accountability’ Gone Wild

Children should not be measured like products of “factory style” schools, where we sort out the “defective” student products and throw them away. They should be educated based on their individual, God given spark of genius, to be the best they can be. When you test a monkey, a fish, and an elephant on their ability to climb a tree, the elephant and the fish will be left behind, but they, too, have unique talents.

“Holding teachers accountable” is a popular phrase. I am not supporting unions, but the design of incentives based on student scores is the major flaw in this plan. You get what you reward. Teachers (and administrators) will only teach to the test and game the system any way they can. Curriculum is narrowed, and cheating is rampant.

Teachers no longer control of what they teach and how they teach it. Administrators are openly calling them “facilitators” and not teachers. They are unfairly measured on elements out of their control.

Learning is clearly in decline, so well-meaning legislators want a means of escape from failing public schools, strangled in bloated bureaucracy, by creating vouchers or charter schools.

But unless we remove Common Core and the federal monopoly, the focus on charter schools and vouchers is meaningless, as all education is the same, with the same tests, the same curriculum, and the same counterproductive incentive system. When federal and state dollars are used to bludgeon schools to conform or lose funding, there will be no real education.

The move toward home schooling shows that parents are awakening to the fact that the legislature has sold our children down the river for the age old motives, MONEY and POWER. Tallahassee and DC are the swamps of education lobbyists selling their new testing and conformity toys to ignorant and/or greedy legislators who don’t understand or don’t care why our children are learning less every year.

We must break that mold and end Common Core and high stakes testing. We can use nationally normed testing on sample groups or even infrequently to determine progress without wasting SO much money and time that we have no time to learn. Teachers used to give tests, correct the tests and give a grade at the end. They were trained and certified to do that. They were managed, promoted and fired by locals who could observe their skills.

Unions and bad education schools made this difficult and the legislature responded by taking away their control. To get at this problem, other countries are good examples. Finland, with the best education results, trains their teachers better and longer. They are paid more and are well respected. Children do not waste their time on standardized testing until they are 16. They don’t even start school until they are 7. There are 15 minute breaks between classes in high school so that students can stretch and be prepared for learning. There is more recess in lower grades. All this and their results are outstanding!

Then there is the “annoying” US Constitution which is violated daily by the very people who have taken an oath to protect and defend it at all levels, from school boards to the President of the United States. The Constitution is crystal clear about the duties of the federal government in Article 1 section 8. They are “clear and defined.” There is NO mention of any duty whatsoever in the area of education. Then the “capper” is the 10th Amendment, which simply states that anything NOT identified in Article 1, section 8 belongs to the States or to the People. Our founding fathers had good reason for designing our federal government to be the servant and not the master of the sovereign states.

People who solve their problems and define their own success are more likely to achieve great things. Our country grew great because individuals were free to determine their own destiny. We must unleash that human potential once again by freeing our children from the slavish conformity now demanded through illegal and unconstitutional federal control of education.

Our state legislators were supposed to guard us against an intrusive federal government. They need to stand against unlawful overreach. They need to nullify laws that violate our Constitution such as the ESSA, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Instead, they crumble under the fear of “loss of federal money.” Their knees buckle when the USDOE coerces them with dollars and then they end up with unintended consequences and unfunded federal mandates like Common Core.

News Flash! Federal money comes out of my left pocket and State money comes out of the right. The federal government is taking money from my right pocket to the left and then keeping their cut like a mob protection racket.

Where is our Eliot Ness? Who in our state legislature will stand up to the “mob” in Washington D.C.?

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