"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 7, 2020

US Export: Failing Schools

Again with the phrase failing schools!
This time it's in Australia where the New South Wales (NSW) state government has announced that it will intervene in public schools that don't meet "performance standards."

Here's a tweet from Pasi Sahlberg who has been working in Australia for the past few years...

I'll give you one guess what the "performance standards" are. Yes, they include attendance, well-being (not sure how that's defined), studying, and employment upon graduation. But check out what's mentioned first...
The NSW Department of Education will intervene in public schools that fail to meet performance targets in priority areas such as HSC and NAPLAN results, attendance, wellbeing and whether students are studying or can find work after they graduate.
The HSC is the Aussie version of a high school diploma. So -- graduation rates.

NAPLAN stands for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy. It's the standardized test used to determine if students are achieving...
...in three areas of literacy—reading, writing and language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)—and in numeracy.
Apparently, the NSW government has adopted the US attitude about schools, deciding that schools are the only variable to grades, test scores, graduation, and employment after graduation. Failing schools are to blame if a student who graduates can't get a job. Failing schools are to blame if a student doesn't learn at the same rate as their peers. And failing schools are to blame if a student does not show up to school. It's sad that this attitude has been exported from the US.


Are teachers the only ones who have responsibility for student achievement? What about the students themselves? What about their parents? What about policy-makers? Why are teachers the only ones who are "held accountable?"

Who has the responsibility to fund public schools? Who has the responsibility for the well-being of children? Who has the responsibility for the number of jobs available in the economy?

When teachers don't have enough time to reach all their students because they have large class sizes...whose fault is that?

When teachers need to spend their own money to purchase supplies for their classroom...whose fault is that?

When teachers again spend their own money to purchase materials, clothing, and food for students...whose fault is that?

This tweet from a teacher in the American Southwest says it all...
Failing schools? I don't think so.


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