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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

APS testing scandal: remediation should be goal of educators

When I attended private school, I remember being horrified when I learned my answer was wrong on the standardized test dealing with a Science question.

It was based on the Earth's temperature being greater when it was farthest from the Sun. In my small third grade brain, that didn't make sense; but scientists say our planet is actually warmer when we're farther from this massive energy source.

What's most important about this memory is that the nun who was my teacher went over the questions that I missed and made sure I knew the truth.  What is wrong about the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) scandal is that everyone is focusing on blaming test erasures and witch hunting teachers instead of making sure that students are given the answers they need through improving the process of deficiency correction.

Anybody can pass a test if they practice long enough. The true measure of an education is being able to survive in this world where teachers will be toting guns soon...woe to us all!

Another item that should be investigated is how teachers and administrators are trained and whether they are actually knowledgeable. Certified test taking is also a matter of contention since the test is sometimes available to study before entering the testing room.  To me, this is a more egregious offense than erasing wrong answers on fifth grader's answer sheets because it deals with professional standards. Surely, if teachers will cheat to become certified they will cheat to receive bonuses for their student's pseudo test-taking skills. 

As we find more knowledge given out freely on the Internet and take teaching our kids into our own hands, we will have fewer fingers to point at professional educators and more time to deal with solving real problems - hunger, maternal health, energy management, and war.

Student remediation to correct deficiencies in APS's educational system should be Priority No.1 now. Stop the witch hunt and start education reform by making sure teachers are qualified to teach and not certified to cheat. 

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