Very quickly they [teachers] learn that by maintaining a low profile they avoid all kinds of negative consequences , things like parent-teacher conferences, principal-teacher conferences, counselor-teacher conferences, as well as a host of extra-currilular stress in the form of letters to the editor, discussion among school board members, and the chiched but very real gossip around town.
Maintain a low profile- don't make waves, and you avoid contention and get to keep your job! Maintain the status quo and you get tenure! Don't try and shake things up and actually try and teach, educate, because that means we, the school, will make life a living hell for you, the teacher. I know this because I have experienced it first-hand. I could go on and on (and have in previous blog posts) about my experiences in the classroom, getting written up for challening the system. Sure I can say I care about kids and their education but I best stay in my subordinated, shovel the same sh%$ around, do-nothing- position, smiling as I deal out worksheets, scantrons, and scripted curriculum. Speaking up, voicing my opinion, challenging the system paints me as the enemy and I am exiled.
Something is very wrong with that.
Teachers routinely give out passing grades to students who have failed....teachers escape having to justify flunking a student and students get to move on to the next class without having to master the skills and concepts taught in the course.
I have seen grades "magically" change in the transcripts, students held back magically promoted to the next grade, I've been told I must (or be fired) give failing students an "incomplete" which, guess what, becomes passing credit (again, "magically) upon graduation. Suddenly, when I, gasp, expect children to EARN their grade, they simply don't.... besides, if three years after my class, their F in my class is suddenly a C, do I hold my word, that an F is an F, a C is a C and so forth? I have had former students tell me something like, "college is sooo hard, I was a good student in high school but not anymore. College expects me to know all this stuff I was never taught". Businesses and colleges alike cite the disparity between high school and college/the work world- kids come to college/work knowing very little.
This was the drive behind the accountabilty movement and NCLB, but if NCLB's standards and assessments merely assess rote learning, fact regurgitation, simple concepts, is it any wonder why children are still not "prepared"? The very system brought about to change the dumbing down of education just perpetuates it. And, we get students in high school who do not know how to divide, read a newspaper, or speak to an audience because, to not damage their precious little butterfly egos- or to just avoid the "drama" they are passed up and up and up and on. Someone else's problem, who will take the easy road and pass them, until they are so far behind that the current system truly cannot help them advance. That is a travesty. Intellectual abuse. And...also...we wonder why kids don't do their work, do well on tests? They either lack the skills, or they know the system is a game to their advantage- why work your butt off for a B when you can go to class, text your friends all period, never do a thing, and pass with a B as well? Why even try?