Education Blackboard — April 8, 2010

Measure success based on students’ performance

by MAGGIE THELEN
Principal, Cannonsburg Elementary School
Director of Gifted and Talented
Director of Instructional Technology

No Child Left Behind, EdYes, MEAP tests, ACT tests, SAT tests, PLAN tests, Response to Intervention, EXPLORE tests, IDEA 2004… educators live in a world of standards and assessments. We need to look at how and what we teach and then measure success based on how well our students perform. Isn’t there more to teaching and learning? Don’t we want all students to come to school to learn and grow each day? Many policies and procedures are in place, which safeguard the progress of students—the majority of our students—but still lack the accountability for meeting the needs of the highly able student. If we equated the education of our youth with that of a sports team, we would quickly realize the disparity in quality of education that could exist. The following article was originally printed on the Hoagie’s Gifted Education Page. Read the comparison between the game of football and that of educating all students.

No Child Left Behind: The Football Version
Author Unknown, additions by
Carolyn K., director, Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page

1. All teams must make the state playoffs, and all will win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time and in the same conditions. No exceptions will be made for interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL.

3. When players arrive at any game with remedial skills in football for any reason, their coaches will be penalized for their performance, regardless of how long the players have been on the team.

4. If remedial players do not achieve proficiency by the next statistically recorded game, their coaches and athletic directors will be put on probation. After several games of probation, coaches and athletic directors may be released. Coach and athletic director probation and release will not be conditional on the size of gains in the remedial players football skills; players must reach proficiency.

5. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own without instruction. Coaches will use all their instructional time with the athletes who aren’t interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don’t like football.

6. All coaches will be proficient in all aspects of football, or they will be released.

7. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th and 11th games.

8. This will create a New Age of sports, where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimal goals.

If no football player gets ahead, then no football player will be left behind.

In classrooms today, teachers are diligently working on differentiating the curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. It is through personal and professional development, the assistance of teachers whose entire job is to work with the highly able student and coaching teachers on strategies for these students and from working with other teachers who are versed and dedicated to making a difference with advanced students that all teachers can be prepared to teach all students at the level is which they are prepared to learn. Rockford Public Schools has a small yet dedicated staff in the Gifted and Talented Department, whose mission is to coach teachers, work with students, identify students who need special programming, assist parents in advocating for their child and develop programming options for the highly able. The Board of Education and the administration in Rockford believe in meeting the needs of all students and recognize that all students do not learn at the same depth and pace as their peers. Rockford supports both special education and gifted education so that all students can and will be successful. I am lucky to work in a district that holds the education of all students in such high regard.

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