Fourteen teachers have joined their voices and written an open letter to Del Marsh, sponsor of the RAISE legislation, and all members of the legislature. This was posted on Jan. 25, 2016 on AL.com. They make excellent points. Here are excerpts:
Students must be the driving force in everything we do in education, and the bill, as written, is likely to have a significant negative impact on student learning and achievement, not the positive effect we all seek for our students in Alabama.
We include below five of the many reasons to reject this bill:
- It increases the number of days dedicated to testing, further decreasing instructional time;
- It increases the likelihood that teachers will teach to the test, increasing the class time spent preparing for the test, emphasizing test scores while actually de-emphasizing the process of learning;
- It will require creating and grading new tests for numerous subjects, draining money from the funds available for improving education for all students and inviting litigation that will drain money from the funds as well;
- It is likely to cause students to focus on the high-stakes, computer-graded tests at the end of multiple courses, not the critical, analytical, and creative thinking essential in a democracy;
- It requires evaluation of classroom teaching by people (“outside evaluators”) unfamiliar with the teachers and students. The outside evaluators would certainly need training, which will drain even more money from funds that could be used in classrooms to improve education for all students.
It is likely for all of these reasons to have serious negative effects in the classroom and beyond, in all the places where students should be able to use the knowledge they ought to be gaining in the classroom.
Please reconsider any support you may have given to this legislation until trusted educators are involved in the discussion.
As educators, students are the driving force for everything we do. Trust us to do our jobs.
The more this legislation is dissected, the more we see what a train wreck it is.