Home > Teacher Accountability > Education Reform is no Easy Mac

Education Reform is no Easy Mac

Let’s face it, education reform is something most people would rather avoid talking about all together if they could. It’s an issue that seems tiring and unchangeable at times. After all education reform is no bowl of Easy Mac. It’s not going to just happen instantly. It’s more like preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s going to take awhile, a lot of work is going to have to be put into it, but in the end you know the results are going to be well worth the wait (way better then that Easy Mac!). Of course there is no single “ingredient” that is going to fix our educational system by itself, but one major component I think will improve it is the quality of teachers.

We have all had those teachers in school that would let you sit and do whatever you wanted for hours at a time. In my high school this greatly consisted of card games, watching movies, and nap time. Who said nap time ended in preschool? But once we walked across that stage we were officially high school graduates (not to mention pros at rook). Once college came around it was a slap in the face…obviously being a pro at rook wasn’t going to get you an A in Biology. Could this possibly be to blame partly on the teachers?

The process of learning in the classroom begins at the interactions between the student and the teacher. If you don’t have a teacher who is passionate about what they are doing, then they won’t feel the need to challenge a student. A teacher should want their students to do their best and succeed. While card games, movies, and nap time seem to be fun at the time, in the long run is this really providing the education we want for our children? President Obama say’s “teachers are the most important person in the education system. So if we don’t have teacher buy-in, if they’re not enthusiastic about the reforms that we’re initiating, then, ultimately, they’re not going to work”. So teachers please realize your job as an educator and stop being lazy!

East Carter KY High School Scores

KCCT Test Scores

1st  bar-East Carter High School

2nd bar- Carter County School District

3rd bar- Kentucky

For East Carter High school, the quality of teachers reflected greatly in this year’s test results. East Carter High School test results put them in the 10 lowest performing schools in the state. According to “No Child Left Behind” standards they are a “persistently low achieving school based on test results in math and reading in 2009 and 2010. Now before anyone completely disagrees with this being the fault of the teachers, I do realize that not every student test well. I also realize that other factors play into these test scores such as the student’s environment. Overall though, these are pretty poor results. The teachers are obviously not fulfilling their job requirements. We must find a way to attain more effective school teachers in the school system if we want to make a change!

So this brings us to the point of who qualifies as a “good” teacher? How do we figure this out?  Evaluations of course! If this is how we are going to determine if a teacher is qualified to provide a good education, then the process of evaluation must change. You can’t determine the quality of a teacher by simply marking them as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory”. If that were the case then in some districts 99 percent of teachers were rated to be satisfactory. Who are rating these observations? Have we let our standards so low that anyone can pass? The process of evaluating these teachers must be enhanced in order to determine a teacher’s real quality.

Then the question of whether the administrator of a school or other teachers within a school should be allowed to be in charge of evaluating a teacher. Some say that it’s biased, and having someone within the school can cause issues with playing favorites, and this could be tragic on certain teachers if they are not liked well enough. Come on people! Who would be better at evaluating teachers in a school other then the people within the school itself? We are not talking about whether Harry likes Sally; we are talking about who is qualified to teach our kids. It’s important on determining if a teacher is helping with the learning progress of the students.

In Toledo’s public school system they have shown great success by doing observations called peer assistance and review. This is where experienced teachers coach, support, and evaluate their colleagues. Good teachers are not born but nurtured and supported. With the help of experienced teachers pinpointing others weaknesses and strengths, they were able to overall improve student academic performance.

So teachers leave nap time for the preschoolers, and realize that what you do with these students does affect their lives. This may affect their lives at this very moment or in the future, either way their education matters. The educational fate of generations to come lay in your hands. So skip the Easy Mac, and take the time to help reform our schools by helping increase the quality of teachers!

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  1. Mark
    December 2, 2010 at 1:07 am

    This was a good read, but if I was the author I would have started with the third paragraph and left out the first two. A much more focused and relevant start to what became a well researched and interesting article would have been achieved.

    Your premise is a good one, but I’ll ask you … just because someone is certified or graduates college as a teacher, does that mean they’ll be a good one? At my university (in Canada, where your professor received her Phd) Education is one of the most competitive and difficult programs to get accepted in. Does this mean we have markedly better teachers?

    The predictors of what makes a good teacher (or lawyer, or accountant, or doctor) are not well established. Until we know “who” will make a good teacher, how effective is nurturing the weak as a strategy?

  1. December 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

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