Monday, June 6, 2011

NOT Waiting for Superman

Karp “Who’s Bashing Teachers and Public Schools, and What Can We Do About It?”  -Questions

1.       Teachers are being held accountable for the test scores of their students, but which assessments will measure social growth, personal goal achievements, hard work, and determination against all odds?  So many students going to school in high poverty areas are dealing with so much more in terms of personal battles, such as where their next meal will come from and when, or where they will be sleeping that night; how can we really expect them to concentrate in the classroom when that is what is really on their minds? 

2.       Karp refers to a current policy as “Race Over the Cliff”, how do you feel about the Race to the Top policy?  Do you think that it could help to close the gap in achievement?  What makes this policy a positive or negative one for the communities participating in it?  What does Race to the Top do to the nation’s view of the public education system?

3.       Our profession, our students, our schools, and ourselves are being judged by people who have never stepped foot in a school since the day they graduated, but think they understand the difficulties we face and the many hats we wear; will anything we do ever be enough?  How can we demonstrate to those outside the classroom the things that we encounter inside the classroom to give them a better understanding of why test scores do not always show the amount of growth that has taken place?  Why are we being blamed for the aspects of our country that are not related to education but have significant affects on it?

4.       Stephen Krashen said, “If we spend as much on protecting children from poverty as we are willing to spend on testing children and evaluating teachers, we can reduce the problem considerably.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  With the right resources, what steps do you think could be taken towards protecting children from poverty?

5.       Karp talks about Finland’s test scores, unions, compensation, tenure, and lack of standardized testing as being a huge success in the public schools.  The child poverty rate is 20% less than that of the United States, but Finland has access to more resources, such as universal daycare, preschool and healthcare which helps children to achieve better results in school.  Should the United States look into the systems that are proving to work for other countries and try some of their procedures and policies here in an attempt to increase our own success rate?  What do you believe should be done?

     I found this article to be extremely interesting.  Stan Karp is an incredible speaker and really caused me to think about all that is being said about teachers today.  This article also made me think about how differently teachers are treated and viewed in other countries and cultures.  So much of what we do and how well it is received by the child is determined by what happens at home and how parents view their child's teacher; none of this is taken into account when reviewing student test scores, but lack of support at home can make a significant difference in the education of a child. 


  1. Jilian,

    I just supported the quote in #4 on Melissa's blog and #1 follows right with that. No food=no brain power. You need the nourishment to get the knowledge effectivly.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your point on question #3! It is very frustrating and hard not to get defensive when people who have never taught a day in their lives try to judge you and the job you are doing with your students. I too wonder when I'm stretched to my limit (much like tonight, lol), if I'm doing enough and if my best is ever going to be good enough.

  3. I love the issue you raise at the end about how teachers are treated in other cultures... what would it look like in the US if teachers were as revered as athletes, or doctors, or even firefighters?

  4. I loved the questions you posed to us for thought and discussion. I think it was great that you gave a quote or statement from Karp before asking the questions.