Monday, March 30, 2009

Homeschool or Public

Shelly wrote a post titled WHY HOMESCHOOLING WORKS and she also wrote TEACHERS ARE NOT BROKEN. These two posts were like a breath of fresh air to me.

Shelly writes, "Men and women work very hard in college to train. They have high hopes of becoming the teacher kids enjoy. They want to teach with their own personality, in their own time-frame and with the ability God instilled in them. What they find when they arrive on the job are rules, stipulations, road blocks and denial. They must force the kids to know the material "on time" for the test. They must force parents to teach at home. They must force families to push their children beyond their capabilities at times so the child is not behind. The joy is stripped of teachers in such a way that it is very hard to pass the joy of learning on to their classroom full of students."

Today is the first day back with my students. The 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students will be spending the next 3 weeks doing the SBA's, New Mexico's standardized testing. To put it bluntly....IT SUCKS! Everything comes to a screeching halt while we're doing these tests. All the extra programs, like P.E., art, computer lab, etc. are cancelled because we use all available teachers. Administrators are so stresses about doing well on these tests that they have passed this stress onto the teachers and we feel compelled to teach a certain way and cover a certain amount of material, no matter whether the children are getting it or not. 

How do these tests tell you whether I am a good teacher or not? I know you have to evaluate me, but really!?! Now, what about coming in, unannounced, on any given day? That will give you a better picture of my teaching ability. Whomever designed these tests needs their head examined! Why would you put a question on a test asking a kid in New Mexico (remember now...we are landlocked)...about a YACHT! I've taught for 19 years and 95% of  my students pronounce this word: y (as in the spanish work "ya")...a (as in "at") (as in "church")...t (as in "Tom")! Don't even get me started...I could go on and on..... 

My other point: How does one test or set of tests tell you all the things your child knows or their true ability level? Many students have a fear of tests, don't eat breakfast most of the time, don't care, or have a different learning style. I know tests are a given and children need to learn to deal, but aren't the elementary years when I should be helping them overcome these fears, figure out how they learn best and giving them a love of learning. These tests just freak the children out.

No Child Left Behind is a crock of @#$% and so is standardized testing. I refuse to put more stress on these 10 year olds then they already have. During testing, I bring in snacks every morning, suspend homework, do a lot of art projects and tell them to do the best they can. 

Until the public school system gets a major overhaul, keep homeschooling your kids. You're the best teacher they could ever have. 


The Mom With Brownies said...

Thank you Tracey. I feel for you and will pray for you...and our American School System.

Annie said...

That no child left behind crap get me all in a tizzy. Here in TX if they can't test well they get put in special ed and don't have to do anything. If they can't meet their service plan, it gets lowered. We've had 12 year olds in our home that can't read yet make the honor roll because they met their very low educational expectations. It's crap. I know many teachers who would actually love to reminds me of foster care.

TXMom2B said...

I couldn't agree more. I taught middle school ESL for 4 years and it was insane. We didn't just have the TX tests, oh no, we had other weeks full of other national tests, too. I think we spent at least a full month per year minimum on standardized testing. That's 20 days out of 180, or 11%, just on testing alone. That doesn't include the time gearing up for the tests!!! I had to just get out. I respect those teachers who love it and stick it out for the sake of the kids. While I don't feel called to homeschool my kids, I haven't ruled it out, either. I think I'll take it one year at a time until I know one way or the other.

Headless Mom said...

Boy, Tracey, tell us how you really feel!? (just kidding)

Yes, our education system sucks. I see more suckage on the way with enormous budget cuts all across the US due to the economy. I feel incredibly blessed to be in an awesome school district, but I know that that could change. *sigh* We parents LOVE LOVE LOVE teachers like you that love your kids and go above and beyond for your kids. Really. Thank you from all of us!

Melba said...

While I'm not sure I will ever home school my own children, I agree with much of what this post says--namely that standardized tests and NCLB SUCK!!! As a prospective teacher, I am often discouraged by how much emphasis is put on testing. It's so completely wrong that test scores are tied to money they way they are...I just hate so much about this system! Here in MI, THE test is called the MEAP and it's the same way during MEAP testing, all extra programs are halted, pressure and NO FUN for the kids!! Thank goodness for awesome teachers like you to ease the pain a bit for the lucky kids who are in your class. Keep up the amazing work you do!!

You asked a couple of days ago what classes I'm in right now, here they are:

*The Reading and Writing Connection

*Reading & Writing Across the Curriculum

*Field Experience 3

*Professional Dev. for Early Childhood Education (ECE)

*ECE Practicum

*ECE Fundamentals

*Biology Methods for Elem. Teachers

*Math for Elem. Teachers I

Whew, quite a list, and I still have TWO very full semesters to go, PLUS a year of student teaching, yikes!! :)


patty said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I have just decided to home school my little girl. she went to preschool this year, but there are just some things my husband and I feel so strongly on. we are overhauling our basement to become the class room. I have chosen a wonderful curriculum and i have themes and lots of fun stuff planned to help her learn. I am already experiencing the disapproval of certain friends and it's disheartening. I came across your blog thru a home school website and I am encouraged to hear you say this. thank you and God bless you. if I could find teachers like you thru her entire student years, I'd not be so hesitant to send her to public school. but I have seen too many things in the few schools I'm near to feel good about sending her there. several little things that have sent checks into my spirit. you are a wonderful woman. God bless you. Pat