Sunday, January 20, 2013

What Does Success Look Like?

     I believe in academic goals. I believe that there are developmental benchmarks that can be agreed to and then those goals can be worked towards. I think that work can be part of reasonable teacher evaluations. The difficulty I have with current reform, and the standardized testing-as-teacher-evaluation push, is a more significant aspect of education in America is being ignored.

     Last November I posted about more vital learning standards because I believed (and still do) that we are failing our students and ourselves by allowing a tiny percentage of citizens to use their economic and political influence to define our roles and goals. The people I know; people I meet; my own family-my own children; my students...I gauge success based much more on their approach towards the world and their role in it. There is no standard for that. It's different for every person and is based on the gifts they bring as an individual to the team (family, class, neighborhood, world...).

     That's why onerous standards that lead to tests that then lead to judgments regarding the value of a person are galling and unjust. Especially when pushed by people who live free from the fears and burdens bore by more and more families who suffer in the "competition" driven market controlled by the tiny percentage. I refuse to accept their definition of success as either the obedient and correct filling of bubbles and silently sitting in seats, OR as their pampered entitled lives that allow them to profit from such injustice while sheltering themselves and their own children from it.

     So what should be called success? I will be working with those "standards" I wrote to try and clarify them and maybe come up with goals/performance indicators...but help me. What do you want to see in our future citizens? What do you feel good about students being able to do?

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