Who Bears the Responsiblity For Student Success?

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Are teachers being “scapegoated” or are American taxpayers being fleeced by our education system? Last month we posted a link to an article about reactions from national teachers’ unions to President Obama’s plan to reauthorize the ESEA on our Facebook page.

Are good teachers the key to great students? Respond to the poll…

What Makes a Good Teacher? (select 2)

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Separating the Sheep from the Goats

According to NEA President Van Roekel,  “We see too much top-down scapegoating of teachers and not enough collaboration.”

While AFT President Weingarten claims, “Teachers are on the front lines, in the classroom and in the community, working day and night to help children learn. They should be empowered and supported – not scapegoated.”

EIA explains the ritual of sending a goat (who is blameless but pays with its life for the errors of others) out into the wilderness to atone for a perceived wrong, and says you can’t have it both ways.

“You can’t say on the one hand that ‘The key to turning out great students is great teachers,’ while claiming to be blameless when students fail.

Read “Separating the Sheep from the Goats” in the EIA Communique Archives at http://www.eiaonline.com/archives/20100315.htm

Why Do So Many Students Fail?

Are teachers REALLY working day and night to help children learn? What about teachers who rush out of school because they are teaching to the contract, and not one minute more? Or the teachers who go on strike for weeks? (although that’s happening much less often since the bottom dropped out of the economy).

  • Why do so many students fail?
  • Why are so many children NOT learning to read?
  • What is the key to improving outcomes?
  • What and/or who determines proficiency?

We stirred up a lot of controversy on the blog trying to answer these questions.  We expressed our concerns about teacher training and the fact that most special ed teachers are not trained to teach children to read.

If they have training, it is often superficial, or they are working in K-3. Colleges that turn out special ed teachers do not teach them any particular method, nor do most teachers get training from their school district.

Read Fifth grader is reading at 2.7 grade level. Should he be tested for Special Ed? at https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=8

In One Reason Kids Aren’t Learning to Read, research editor Sue Whitney could not find a single state that requires a candidate for a certified education position to have training/certification in one research based reading program. Sue explains that teachers are paying good money for a college education that will not prepare them for the job they will be hired to do. https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=48

Robin Hansen asks, “Is there any wonder why special education reading scores are so low?” At best, most potential teachers will get just an overview in reading. (see the Best Kept Secret in Special Education at https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=513

Our concerns are not attacks on teachers, but a critique of teacher education programs and concerns about teacher quality and preparation.
No Offense: But it is Alarming That So Many Children Are Not Learning to Read at https://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=116

  1. In your poll, Who Bears the Responsiblity For Student Success?, even though you touched on the issue of high quality I think this topic could benefit from some elaboration.

    Teachers can be bright, articulate, dedicated, experienced, hard working, etc., but if they do not have the tools to succeed, and use them, i.e., knowledge of research based methods and how to identify quality research, they will fail and students will suffer.





    “In the Absence of Science There Is Only Opinion”

  2. I’m a Special Ed behavior teacher. I teach high school-level kids with explosive and/or avoidant behaviors. My kids are doing wonderfully well in spite of significant social/emotional and academic challenges. Why? Because I have the background and training to do on-the-spot behavioral interventions AND because my students largely have mental health services in place. Barring these efforts, though, these kids would (and have in the past) failed in the regular school setting. At some point, though, a line has to be drawn between school responsibility and family responsibility. Teachers should not be expected to be mental health clinicians as well as educators.

  3. The first problem is Teachers are not being taught to teach kids how to read (one size fits all) the 2nd problem at least in our school is teacher attitude. The blame game (lets blame the parent and then if that does not work lets blame the kid. My Dyslexic child is constantly being called out in class. (in front of the whole class being asked if it is ok to read out loud saying ilf you do it I don”t want a letter from your mom) There is no reason for this.Don’t get me wrong…There are many GREAT teachers out there that have their hands tied and cannot say anything because they fear loosing their job. the whole system is just plain broken. We in the us are falling behind in education learning difference or not.

  4. I think this is where we miss the mark.

    As advocates, we have the perfect vision for a teacher in our mind and ALL teachers should look like this image. Just like our kids, teachers are unique creatures with a variety of talents and gift.

    To keep each teacher from being creative, we require them to under go “STANDARDIZED” training and mindsets. Why do we expect them to understand a child’s INDIVIDUAL needs? We demand that they not be individuals.

    I don’t have an answer. Just sharing an observation.

  5. Ad to your survey – A desire/imperative to be a great teacher. None of your survey items “makes a good teacher”

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