Monday, October 31, 2011

Things That Have Me Thinking This Week...October 31, 2011

Here are the most thought-provoking articles and blog posts that 
I came across in the last week.  Enjoy!


#1
In A Standardized Test Era, A Creative School Is Forced To Be More So - New York Times

If you need proof that NCLB is leading our schools and our students down the wrong path then look no further than this sad story out of Durham, NH where  a school regarded as one of the top in the state (based on indicators such as SAT scores, college acceptances, etc.) is now a failing school due to the fact that 12 special education students out of 110 performed poorly on there state exam.  Instead of continuing some of their innovative practices, this school is instead "teaching to the test."

Linda Reif, a former NH teacher of the year, discusses how the thinking at her school has changed due to the test scores of a small subgroup at her school.
“The attitude was if we did good teaching and we were passionate and energetic, kids would learn and that would be enough...A lot of faith we’ve had in ourselves as professionals has been turned aside by the tests.”

#2 
Oregon City School District Walks Away From 2.54 Million Dollar Grant For Performance Pay - OregonLive.com

This is a refreshing story from Oregon where one district turned away federal funds due to the fact that they could not come to grips with the U.S. Department of Education's firm mandate to reward teachers for better test scores.
 "We certainly, as a team, do not believe that providing an incentive to teachers based on increased test scores of any individuals is going to make a difference in student achievement," said superintendent Larry Didway. 

If you would like to check out a few other resources citing the failure of merit pay, I encourage you to check out the links below:

Why Merit Pay for Teachers Sounds Good - But Isn't - Valerie Strauss

The Long Failed History of Merit Pay and how the Ed. Department Ignores It - Diane Ravitch

Daniel Pink's TED Talk on Motivation - via Tom Whitby and the Educator's PLN

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