Posted: September 16th, 2022
150 word response – 1 reference
Provide ideas they can use to garner support from potential followers to move their vision forward to reality
Educational Problem/My Vision/Solution
The problem in my district and across the nation, especially in at-risk schools where students and their parents are from majority poor and working poor families, is that students are not reading and comprehending on grade level. This is widely known from the superintendent to the custodian, yet we are still attempting to teach to a test, that frankly, the students cannot read or comprehend. This fact alone sets them up for failure on the tests, when in actuality, school districts are the ones failing students and parents. Instead of teaching to the state tests, we should focus on the basics of reading, writing, and reading comprehension for all students, regardless of grade level. Students in our district and across this nation are graduating with a second, third or fourth grade reading level. That is horrendous, not because of the student, but because the school district passed the child from grade to grade knowing the student could not possibly be mastering the subjects.
Lazarin (2014) reported that students were tested as frequently as twice per month and on average, once a month, leading to testing burden among students, families, and educators. Also, the same report indicates that “there is a culture of testing and test preparation in schools that does not put students first”. While the actual time spent taking tests might be low, a culture has arisen in some states and districts that places a premium on testing over learning (Lazarin, 2014). According to Lynch (2017) the use of standardized tests, in fact, resulted in a narrowing of the curriculum so that there would be alignment between the test administered and the curriculum taught.
Students would learn less, but more would be able to reach required scores for promotion. “This is, of course, the problem at the heart of “teaching to the test” conundrum” (Lynch, 2017). In my opinion, if more teachers, students, parents, and administrators collaborated to protest the validity and need for these tests, then the next proposed solution would not be necessary.
My vision, as stated above, would be to eliminate the need for state tests. Private and parochial schools are not required to have state test scores for graduation and their students are among the top students in the state and in the nation. The same is true for home-schooled students-they are also not required to pass state tests in order to receive a high school diploma. However, until we reach a consensus and stand up against these tests, solutions for my district and other districts whose students struggle academically would be the following:
Focus on Reading and Reading Comprehension-Regardless of grade level, we must meet students where they are reading and bring them up to an appropriate level
Set Aside 45 Minutes in the Day for Remediation-Mainly reading and reading comprehension, but also for math skills- if not every day, then a minimum of 3 times per week for EVERY student
All Teachers Engaged-Regardless of the subject taught, all teachers must incorporate reading and reading comprehension in at least one lesson per week.
I would communicate my vision and strategies for a solution by using the transformational leadership style approach to gain a shared vision with my colleagues. I would communicate to all stakeholders how this will benefit students first and foremost-which is the reason we are employed. I would not use manipulation or fear to garner support, rather an approach that allows everyone to take ownership in the idea, reap the rewards for success, and welcome group accountability for things that may not go well. Lastly, I would communicate the need for flexibility with the idea that change is progress and effective progress is slow, on-going, and subject to constant revisions.
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