Most of the time as I write posts I am excited to share a new technology idea or literacy idea, or I have have learned something new professionally. Not often have I written a post that I would consider negative or questioning education? However, I am posting about value added and what does it mean to me, so feel free to switch to another blog or not continue to read.
I had an experience this past week that really disturbed me and after I came home and cried my eyes out, I wondered if I am too old to keep teaching? Have we lost the value of each individual child as a learner and accepting where they are in their learning curve? Several years ago when education started shifting toward state tests to judge students in the areas of reading, math, and science, I wasn't sure about state testing like most teachers. But I am realistic, and I know that I am not going to be able to change politics and/or state tests. I wasn't happy, but I have to admit I played the game of testing and until two years ago that worked for me professionally.
However, now that state testing is attached to value added, and I am being judged on the basis of a 2 1/2 hour test in reading, math and science. Testing has become more personal, and I am here to admit I do take it personally. I believe I have to because the scores are attached to my name and possibly 50% of my salary if the laws continue to stay true in our state.
I am sitting on the side of the fence where my students made value added this past year; however the reason I came home and cried was because my students this year are becoming an NCE number from their 4th grade testing. Someone at the state department has calculated what a year's growth should be for my students in this year's class. This is another blog post within itself, but my biggest question is when did a calculation of numbers become more important that the child themselves? These scores are suppose to tell me how well they will do this year on their 5th grade OAA tests. These numbers are suppose to tell me who I should "push" because they can do it and which ones need remediation. In my past 23 years of teaching. I thought that was one aspect of being a professional educator. I never needed an NCE number to tell me who needed help and who needed enriched.
My students are 10 and11, and they are readers, writers, word smiths, mathematicians, scientists and historians, They are soccer players, ballet dancers, piano players, only children and the youngest of 6. One student has only lived in the United States for 8 months, and another their grandpa died last week. For another student their mom travels all week because she has to support their family and another student is in our latch key program from 7AM to 7 PM. These are the children in my class this year, and I am their teacher who wants to know them for these qualities and not by a predetermined NCE score.
On a side note, I sat on this blog post for 24 hours. My mom always told me to stop and think before I speak or in this case push the publish button.