Teachers are losing ground in the fight to control their classrooms in the wake of the announcement of Gov. Sam Brownback’s new school finance proposal, which handicaps teachers to an archaic “effective-ineffective” scale. Two years of an “ineffective” score warrants a teacher’s termination, according to the new proposal.
It echoes the nation-wide adoption of No Child Left Behind as a benchmark for juvenile achievement. The Bulletin staff believes this is a grave misunderstanding of what successful education looks like.
The work required to maintain a public education system is enormous. Adequate staffing and curriculum, proper facilities and accessibility are the most visible factors. The quality of our teachers is a function of these factors. No Child Left Behind’s test-centered approach cements teachers into a particular kind of education, even though other successful methods of teaching exist.
Surely if Gov. Brownback knew the implications of his new proposal, he would reverse it. Wouldn’t anybody who themselves benefited from public education?
There is little value in a test, especially if the student only retains information long enough to pass with at least an average score. What creates lifelong learning are teachers who imbed in their students a sense of responsibility and wonder about their own education, which is virtually impossible when the bottom line is a test rather than the student’s future.
Waiting for education to get better is a dangerous game. Statistics about America’s decline in science and mathematics have scared people into a reactionary stance, willing to try anything to meet the standard set by the rest of the world.
What we trade in the process is innovation – what once made this country thrive. It is time for the Brownback administration to put faith in Kansas educators instead of punishing them.
As a university with one of the most prestigious teacher’s colleges in the country, our graduates face not only a dwindling market, but now laws and regulations to make teaching increasingly more difficult. It is shameful to think that we are sending our graduates to the professional slaughter house.