Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Impossible to Fail

My school offers financial incentives for teachers based off the AYP report card.  As a special education teacher, I do not fall under any of the categories that make me eligible for any of them.  Which is fine because I don't believe its a useful motivator anyways. I did not become a teacher to make loads of money.  If that were important to me, I would have used my B.S in Business Administration and found myself a job on Wall Street.  But what is important for me, is to have meaning in my work.  I couldn't imagine working multiple hours a day and being truly invested, if it didn't have a greater good associated with it aside from money.  I am not one to be religious, but I do believe that those in the work in civil servant type jobs, have been called to serve others.

 Unfortunately for me, my school does financial incentives, it leads to poor teaching and too much focus on exams or numbers.  The current issue we are facing is our graduation rate.  Many of the seniors have not earned a passing grade.  They've skipped A LOT of classes, don't complete homework, and have in general slacked off.  Since they barely skimmed by for the first semester, they are now endanger of failing the course for the entire year.  Our fearless leader, is concerned with her graduation rates.  We have now  been told that if we have students with D's or F's in class and we did not contact the parents  before May 1st, we will be unable to fail these students.

While I understand the schools decision that  teachers must inform parents, I believe there are few flaws with this system.
1. Have the parents every attended any of our open houses? (11-7pm to be convenient for working parents)
2. We only saw our seniors for 4 days during the month of April.
3. We were never notified that we had to call parents before May 1st for it to "count"
4. Many of our students phone numbers change weekly.
5. I teach 204 students. (advice is welcomed on how to track that many students individual progress in a class)

1 comment:

  1. It is the same at my school, we are doing a total disservice to our children - what happens when they get to college? We're just passing the students to make the numbers, either they failed or they passed, contacting the parents would have been nice but it hasn't nothing to do with a student's academic ability. That is why I'm in favor of a national standards because at some point hopefully it will be tied to national assessments, which will then show that so called educational reform is nothing more than a sham.