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Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #31 
As a whole I do not believe that American schools are failing.  DuFour writes that the “College Board found that for the first time in American history, 20 percent of the high school graduating class scored honor grades 3 or higher on the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) exams in 2013 (pg. 16).  What I do believe however is that we are struggling.  We struggle with ever changing laws, funding, learning standards, and a negative image from the media.  Except for what I read in books or see in the media, I do not have an idea of how other districts are faring in other states let alone in my region.  Like most educators my opinion if we are failing or struggling is more based on what I have experienced first hand.
I have been in education for 18 years, and I have adjusted my teaching method to reflect what administrators want to see in the classroom even if it was not the best method for my students.  I have had to literally forget everything I was taught in order to teach to new standards or testing.  I have watch teaching a 5 paragraph paper to 2nd graders become outdated so that they could begin learning how to fit their responses into 26 lines on a STAAR test in the 4th grade.  I have watched us go from grouping students based on abilities to making sure that each class has supposedly the same amount of GT, resource, regular ed, minority, and ELLs.  Teachers are feeling pressured more because if their students do not do well then it is the teacher’s fault, yet I have less control on the methods of delivery or time spent on objectives.
After reading these two chapters, my opinion changed somewhat. I still believe that we are struggling but am optimistic that other states are making progress.

Posts: 42
Reply with quote  #32 
I do not believe that schools are "failing".  As it is with most things there is always room for improvement.   My opinion did not change after reading the first two chapters.   I believe that there is always going to be positive statics and media and negative statistics and media.  I also believe that the people who are reporting these statistics are very biased.   I don't feel that they have a true sense of how a classroom is managed everyday. Teachers are forced to be very focused on the success of all the children and not what their strengths are and how we can best teach them on a day to day basis. 

Posts: 13
Reply with quote  #33 
After reading the first two chapters, I do not feel like American public schools are failing.  In fact, my opinion changed about the American public school system. 

Previously, I believed that the U.S. public schools were providing, on average, an adequate service to our students.  I did not fully realize, though, that the majority of the students we teach come to school with varying degrees of challenges:  language barriers, cultural diversity, poverty, single-parent home, foster home, homelessness, family addictions, mental instability, incarceration, gangs, etc.  Students have more daily challenges today than ever before.  And, yet educators are rising to the challenge of teaching them (and not just about school subjects). 

I was pleasantly surprised to read the statistics of our nation's increased graduation rates and of our international rankings.  I was especially pleased to read the comparison of PISA scores for Finland (3% poverty rate) to those of the United States (51% poverty rate):  "If PISA scores just from American schools with up to 10 percent of their students living in poverty are compared to Finland's, American students achievement far exceeds Finland's.  If the United States' schools with up to 25 percent of students living in poverty were considered as a nation, the United States would still rank first in the world among industrialized countries (Rebell & Wolff, 2012)."


Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #34 
Honestly, my perspective is limited. Sure I see lots of kids graduating high school so I know there is success, but I can only speak for my school. I have not attended a large school nor have I taught in a large school environment. I know in our school our funds are shrinking and cuts are being made everywhere and I know that affects our student's education. As for failing we are not. I feel we develop successful kids. However, there are some kids that struggle and school is hard work for them. That is why I am focusing on "effort" this next school year. I want all kids to know that it doesn't matter how smart you are it is how much effort you put into your work that matters. As for the entire American public school system that is just too overwhelming to decide if it is failing. 
S. Braddock

Posts: 19
Reply with quote  #35 
Based on the information that was shared in the first 2 chapters, I believe that, as a system, we are failing here, in America.

Students are tested too frequently and this has caused stressed out students, which increases the incidents of disruptive behavior which in turn, causes stressed out teachers.I look at this issue from a few different perspectives. 1, as a teacher who sees the amount of stress that students and staff are navigating, daily. 2, as a SpEd teacher who is dealing with students that are already at a disadvantage which is causing the stress that they, and their classmates, deal with to be more intense for them. Many times, there have been major issues on testing days that have resulted in significant disruption to the classes as well as the teachers who have to deal with these issues. And, 3, as a parent. My own children are already stressed out trying to do well in there content, prepare for college and just be part of our family while trying to meet the "required level of achievement" on assessments (both district and state). They have often commented that teachers are only teaching how to do really well on tests.

This is unfair to us! We've gone to school to teach and many are specialized in content areas but our jobs are reliant on how well "Sally" does on the STAAR test; not taking into account that she's been out because there's been a problem at home and that morning she found out that dad is moving out and mom is so stressed that she forgot to give "Sally" breakfast and a kiss and hug goodbye before she came to school on STAAR testing day.

Jean :-)
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