14 Teachers Write Del Marsh About RAISE Act.

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:

  1. It increases the number of days dedicated to testing, further decreasing instructional time;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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;
  5. 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.

2 Responses to 14 Teachers Write Del Marsh About RAISE Act.

  1. One of the arguments against the RAISE bill that has only been hinted at, but seems to me very important is this: the best teachers are needed to teach the students who have the most to overcome in learning – those who come from homes without books, without parents committed to better education for their children, without the resources to enrich and encourage achievement, who may even come to school too hungry to concentrate on their lessons. These children often do not do well on standardized tests. Are the very teachers they need going to be fired because they don’t make high test scores? With good teaching they are likely to improve, but the RAISE system would seem to reduce their chances.

  2. As a retired educator (23 years in public education and 17 years as a teacher educator) I totally agree with the need for more focus on critical thinking and less on standardized testing. In addition, no one has said where them money will come from to raise teacher salaries. Will the money magically appear when tenure is ended?