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Friday, October 24, 2014

How Much Stress Should Schools Manufacture?

Beyond a doubt this new brand of corporate-sponsored ed. "reform" stresses students.  Sixty-five percent of NY's students have been branded as failures this past year.  But if you prefer to view the cup as 5% more filled than in 2013, perhaps you appreciate the dregs of cut score manipulation that do little to trickle down to high-needs students, English-language learners and minorities.

Beyond a doubt this new brand of corporate-sponsored ed. deform stresses teachers.  Teachers are asked to place their love for teaching second to test prep.  They must prep like there is no tomorrow and force feed questions engineered to fail students in the name of playing a high-stakes game of statistics weighted against public-school teachers, students and their schools.  All of this amid the backdrop of teacher bashing, over-the-top observations, attempts to strip teachers of tenure and dignity as well as school privatization.

I can also tell you that beyond a doubt this new brand of corporate-sponsored ed. deform stresses parents.  Many watch their students bring home loads of work geared towards test preparation, some of which boggles the mind.  They see their kids stressed to the max, practicing and practicing, only to be labeled failures.  They watch children be sapped of their natural love of learning.  

So, who is not stressed by this new system?  Probably those who have the luxury of sending their kids to academies that will have little-to-none of this nonsense; doubtless, those who stuff their pockets with the profits of test prep and privatization.  In the meantime, the rest of us who experience the system first hand must find ways to deal constructively with the mounting stress that accompanies this perversion of the purposes of education.

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