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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Save the Teachers!

In the best of all possible worlds, I would teach world history to five classes of ninth graders, no Regents, just the pure, unadulterated love of history. My kingdom for a history course without mandatory test prep!

This year, I face three tenth-grade classes with some trepidation.  When I asked them some questions about what they remembered from their ninth-grade year, they only wanted to tell me that their teacher had been absent a lot.  I told them the teacher had not really been absent as much as they remembered.  But this fact got lost with so many others over the long summer.  I, of course, will be held responsible for their performance in June on a Regents based on two-years of study.  Great joy.

To a lesser extent, everyone is affected by the same phenomenon.  An English Regents is not based on one exclusive year of study.  It measures the culmination of skill and knowledge accumulated over a lifetime.  And, who's to say if my kids manage to ace their history exam, it's not actually the work of their English teacher, perhaps, even a P. E. teacher, a parent or the unassuming local librarian?

If ed. reform continues at the same pace and in the same vein, teachers may soon become an endangered species for specious reasoning.

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