About Me

I am a second-career teacher. In my other life, I crunched numbers as an accountant. Probably would have made a great math teacher had the thought occurred to me. No matter, I'm where I'm supposed to be; teaching third grade. Before that, 2nd grade and before that kindergarten. I have 2 grown daughters, 2 poodles, and 1 hubby. I live and work on Long Island.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Inspiration at the Nail Salon

I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two teachers at the nail salon. Actually, I interrupted them. I couldn’t help myself. They were commiserating about the state of testing and what it’s doing to kids and to learning. One of the women, a high school teacher called it child abuse. And I can see her point.

I chimed in to admire her passion and her persuasiveness. We all feel it. Some of us are so good about expressing what’s wrong with the system. With our collective state of irritation, it’s remarkable why policymakers refuse to listen to us teachers on the front line.

They have their own agenda….whether it’s union busting or firing ineffective teachers or who knows what.  They’re packaging a scheme that we teachers completely control the learning and trying to put a pretty bow on a test.  Simply put, we do not completely control learning. Furthermore, the increased reliance on test scores to evaluate teaching and to determine funding is destructive.
It’s taking its toll on our kids. It is child abuse.

Teaching alone does not facilitate learning.  We all know that studies show how learning is the result of excellent planning, ongoing assessment, smart decisions, highly collaborative teams, and FAMILIES that contribute to the value of the educational process.

In many school districts across the U.S. the poverty levels are such that parent’s primary concern is about paying the rent and feeding their kids and aren’t able to help with homework.

We are losing the home/school connection.  
Without it, we cannot guarantee learning anymore than a dentist can guarantee their patients won’t get cavities if they don’t practice good dental habits at home like brushing and flossing.

But yet policy continues to demand that we control the learning. And as we know from our classrooms, demanding something from our students rarely produces the desired results.


  1. I don't know a way out of this either. It's horrible to feel so powerless but I am part of a movement led by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody...
    Here's the link if you haven't seen it yet.

  2. When I hear this I am glad that I have retired...but so sad about how testing has become a monster. Why do the policy makers not listen to teachers!!! (Well, lots of money can be made through all this testing) I like Bonnie's comment and will check out the link. Once a teacher...always a teacher...even if retired. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  3. So well said. Is anyone listening? So many of my students live in families that are struggling. Parents work two or more shifts just to pay bills for rent and groceries. They care about their kids and want the best for them but are overwhelmed, too. I take some hope from the growing pushback in public opinion. We need to keep speaking up for what is best for our students--and it's not more testing.


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