I know as a teacher and as a parent that I like to know where my children are at, and how they are doing. I test my students, I check on my boy – evaluations are an important part of education. But tests and evaluations are not the be all and end all, and they do not tell us everything we need to know about a child. Or a teacher. Or a school. Or an education system (did you hear that PISA? Hekia? Arne Duncan?)
The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) know this. They (we) are fighting GERMified reforms in the USA and beyond that would make a Kiwi’s hair curl (and possibly drop out at the roots). They know that these reforms start small and then snowball until the public education system is munted beyond all belief and the parents, students and teachers are all thinking “How the *hell* did it get to this?!”
One minute your education system is working. Next a politician cries wolf with some scare story, and suddenly it’s all about test scores…
…and unreliable test scores, at that…
The pass levels are set by politicians, not by anyone with any background in education, with the scores moved up and down so that they fit whatever new policy the politicians want to bring in. (Oh look, the scores are too low, we need to have performance pay for teachers… Oh look, the scores are too high, that means the tests are too easy and we need to pay a multinational to make new tests… Oh look the scores are too low, we need to privatise schools… and on it goes…)
And what happens in the middle of all this political and money-making madness, is that the greater goals of education are forgotten.
Everyone’s stressed. Teachers are scared of losing their jobs. Students are scared of failing tests. Parents are worried their schools are being closed, their kids are not getting the education they would want. So much fear and anger.
This is not the education system any teacher or parent wants for their students.
It suits only the politicians and the money-makers.
BATs has a campaign to identify and share the special things that teachers and schools communities do for their students but which cannot be evaluated. The things that cannot be tested, that are overlooked by the reformers. All teachers have these stories, and they need to be shared and celebrated as they are an integral part of what learning and teaching is all about – community, caring, support, bravery, trying again, mentoring, loving.
Below are some #EvaluateThat stories from BATs.
I’d love to hear your stories so we can make some New Zealand-based memes to add to the #EvaluateThat campaign. Add your stories below or email me at email@example.com and I will meme them for sharing.
So go on, Hekia, John, Banksy, and friends, #EvaluateThat.
Remember, teachers, parents, students – I’d love to hear your stories so we can add some Kiwi brilliance to #EvaluateThat – just add your stories in the comments section, below, or on the SOSNZ Facebook page, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will meme them for sharing.
Kia kaha pouako