After a volley of e-mails with the “e-mail critic”, he wrote, “What you’re attempting to say is that these teachers were put in an untenable position. Well, you are right. The public school system cannot educate America’s children and the NCLB act’s failure simply points that out. But don’t you realize these cheating teachers were hiding the fact that the NCLB act is a colossal failure? Instead of defending them, you should be castigating them.”
My response to, “The public school system cannot educate America’s children” is to point out at that more than 80% (more than 34 million) of those American children succeeded in the public schools. However, the NCLB Act demands 100% success (an A+) from America’s teachers.
The “e-mail critic” and the NCLB Act measures the failure of the American public schools by the portion of the glass that is empty and ignores the part that is full, which is close to the top.
How would you like to be measured against perfection every day or face being declared a failure?
Have we forgotten that humans, including teachers, students and parents, are not perfect?
According to studies, bad teachers represent between 1 to 7 percent of all teachers. If the average public school student has about 50 teachers from K to 12, that means .5 to 3.5 teachers were bad and the other 46.5 to 49.5 taught well.
Eighty percent of students succeeded because public school teachers were doing their jobs, which was teaching, and those students were doing what was required of them to learn.
In addition, I am going to go one step further and suggest that all American public school teachers during the 2011 – 2012 school year reject “blind obedience” and instruct their students to mark “C” for every answer on the annual standardized tests.
Let this protest show the nation that teachers are tired of being the scapegoat for poor parenting and the unrealistic demands of the NCLB Act, which was designed for teachers and public education to fail.
What would happen to our students if teachers demanded “A’s” on every assignment or be considered a FAILURE?
If most of the teachers can be successful with more than 80% of the students, then they have proven they are capable of teaching and the public schools are capable of success when students and parents do their job.
There is something wrong when critics condemn public school teachers due to the twenty percent of students that fail to meet the NCIBA Act’s mandate and those students are mostly found among African-American and Hispanic/Latino students.
It is time to hold poor parenting and “other inequalities” responsible for failing students, and then find ways to deal with those challenges without blaming the teachers.
Maybe the parents of those failing students should wear dunce caps and signs whenever they are in public that say, “I am a poor parent. I do not support my child’s teachers and my child’s education.”
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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