Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 |
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• A teacher on Kaua‘i’s public schools
A teacher on Kaua‘i’s public schools
By Terese Barich
What an outcry about the plan for 24 public schools that need attention according to the NCLB requirements. If only The Garden Island Education section could receive front-page coverage.
Consider that a few years ago an unachievable amount of state standards were made into a law. Schools had to meet these standards without additional classrooms, without an increase of teachers, without promised federal funds, and without consideration of the human element. Career instability was an “added incentive.” If schools failed to meet the legal standards, teachers and principals would be relocated to other schools.
The schools’ annual yearly progress is determined by a one-shot test score that is used for NCLB criteria. The criteria is unequal. Some schools need to meet established percentage scores in only four categories, while other schools have to meet scores in eight categories. All categories must be met. If seven out of eight pass with flying colors but the eighth category is one percentage point short, the entire school doesn’t pass.
If you shift these requirements to another profession, a new perspective can be seen. Say you work at a job for two, two and a half years. It doesn’t matter what you achieve on a daily basis, but the sole assessment for your promotion rests on one test. You aren’t allowed to refer to any materials, data, examples, or references that you use in your day-to-day activities. You can’t ask any questions for clarification. No retakes for headaches or anything that ails you. If you miss the mark by one point, not only will you not get your promotion, but people from Canada will be hired to tell you how to do your job. With large print, newspapers will then announce your shortcomings.
A major part of public education is to encourage and provide opportunities for students to work together successfully. Respect yourself. Respect others. Wouldn’t it be great if more people focused on that, and asked how they could help our schools?
In a recent letter to your column about “Education and failure,” the author wrote that he was “curious as to what the school district does on a regular basis.”
I cordially invite the author to visit my classroom and see for himself what’s going on. Understandably, in any profession, there is room for improvement.
However, please know that our public schools have great teachers, some caring principals, and beautiful children that always remind us of the unique spirit of the human element.
Terese Barich is a resident of Puhi.
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