We are certainly busy. I spent the whole last evening creating data to document where my students stand with regard to different Common Core and other standards. I ran out of time. I’m short of sleep. I should not be writing this. I don’t have time.
But I am afraid that, as we work to achieve our many goals, we are losing sight of the big picture. All children are different. We are required to give them almost exactly the same instruction nevertheless. Will this benefit the kids? Possibly. In special education and bilingual classes, none of them are close to knowing the math they are being taught. If they learn that math, we will all win.
Eduhonesty: I come back to a long-standing concern: What is the effect of regularly — in our new data-driven climate I think could say ‘almost constantly’ — being forced to take tests you fail? Does anyone know? Does anyone care? I’m supposed to work hard to develop my students’ self-esteem. But “You’re improving!” may not be much solace to a kid who went from getting 4 out of 20 right to getting 10 out of 20 right. When the material you are forced to teach is positioned five grades above where your own data shows that kid has been operating, much better results are unlikely.
Our approach will likely benefit a number of underachievers who needed to work harder, especially those who have not fallen too far behind already. I expect to see score gains. What will happen to those kids who can’t understand the new material, though, especially at the rapid and inflexible speed at which we are presenting that material? I am afraid that afterschool tutoring will prove about as effective as a Band-Aid on a third-degree burn.
P.S. Need to be positive. Need to work on being positive. It’s hard sometimes, but I have to believe in this particular field of dreams. I am going to be living in it.