Friday, July 27, 2007

Obviously, this man is my soulmate...

Just read a recap of a speech by Jim Cummins at the state NCTE conference in California. I so wish I had been there to hear him speak! Because just reading it, I gave him a standing ovation.

Some of the things I've been saying for years are in his speech. Just one example is the unconscionable amount of instructional time being lost to testing. This is something I have personal experience with, as student teachers under my supervision, every spring, spend literally weeks overseeing students taking tests. And that's just the time being spent on TAKING the tests, not the time spent by teachers (who are, yes indeed, afraid of losing their jobs if their students don't perform well) on preparing students to take the tests. I'm still waiting for the huge uprising of parents against the amount of time and the stress involved in these tests. Ridiculous. Parents, you should sue!

And then also there's the preposterous idea that the tests students are taking actually represent what they are capable of. We have those data, sure, but what other data might we also be collecting to help us understand how our students are doing?

And don't get me started on notions of "highly qualified" teachers that take into account ONLY the content the teachers have and not their actual ability to develop a classroom community, organize and carry out instruction, interact with other humans, etc.

Anyway, if you have a minute, go and read the overview of Jim Cummins' talk. That is an enlightened man.

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