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Friday, November 30, 2007

Teaching to the Test

Monty Neill,

I read your article in the Inquirer and couldn't agree more. I went to St.
Joe's Prep (a long time ago) and now teach 9th graders in a public high
school in South Carolina. Needless to say, I speak as a veteran teacher.

The End-of-Course tests in this state--as in others--are beyond merely a
negative factor in the ways you mention, they are outright MADNESS. I refuse
to let EOC pressure wear on my mind like other teachers, but then again, I'm
56 and will be out of this madness soon. I feel sympathy for young teachers
walking into the horror of having this millstone of politically-mandated
crap hanging over them, and that is why I'm writing to you.

For, here's the biggest reason against exit testing that's left out of
these discussions: good, new, dedicated teachers will leave the profession
instantly when they go through even one year of this insanity. I know of two
examples right off the top of my head, who would have been excellent
teachers. I was in a "curriculum standards" teacher's meeting Tuesday of
this week, and thinking exactly that.

The politicians drive administrators to walk into these meetings and say,
"Now, we don't want you to teach to the tests, but . . ." And teachers are
sitting there knowing full well that's a load of nonsense. OF COURSE, they
want us not only to teach to the test, they want us to gear the entire
curriculum in lockstep to it. No new teacher worth a grain of salt will want
to kiss up to that kind of phony approach. Good luck to schools of education
finding the saps who want to go through the robotic, insipid teaching
routine embodied in that concept. In the meantime, the politicians are not
"accountable"--their favorite word--and are on their merry way making up
another soundbite about their deep concern with education. Spare me. It's
absolute madness.

Bob Strauss, Jr.
Greenwood, SC

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