Saturday, December 22, 2012

Speaking Up

Most educators I know recognize so many problems, many unintended, with standardized testing.  We have seen the demands of the classroom and the impacts on students change dramatically in the last decade or so.  Yet we rarely speak up.  Sure, we complain amongst ourselves and with our families.  But we are not organized and vocal.  We depend on lobbyists, professional PR people, unions and supportive politicians.  But where is the voice of the actual educator?  We need to be speaking for ourselves.  The American public largely supports us as individuals within our own communities, but shudders when pundits and lawyers speak.  So let’s speak up in our communities and make a difference.

Dr. Joshua Starr, superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, Maryland has done so.  He is calling for a moratorium on standardized testing.  He has eloquently spoken out about the multitude of things educators and schools are trying to do at once.  He has spoken out against the use of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation.  He has demonstrated real leadership from the point of view of an educator in the trenches.  We may not all agree with all his suggestions for every community, but I am sure we can all agree that leadership demands a willingness to start the conversation, to get people talking, and to get people thinking outside the box.

Use whatever pulpit you have.  Speak out.  Speak often.  Consider the possibilities.  Seriously consider what you think is best for your students and for our communities’ future.

Read a little here about Dr. Starr.

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