Friday, June 25, 2010

Thoughts Without Words: Failing Students = not an option

From Stories from School (via Joanne Jacobs); it seems as though word is getting out more and more that elementary teachers can't hold back their students because of self-esteem issues and other political reasons. But does this help the students? How kind of effect does it have their later years in education? Does passing on a student in the 4th grade help them out if they can't multiply or divide properly? We read;
The funny thing about this is that elementary students think I have the power to hold them back. For some, this is a motivator. I’ve even been known to sometimes play on this fear. It helps some to rise to the level and work harder. But what message am I sending when, no matter what, everyone gets promoted? Kids know when a student is failing. When September roles around, and Jordan is sitting with them in their new sixth grade class, they’ll realize they didn’t have to work as hard as they did to get where they are. This message starts to set in just as they enter middle school.
I have students that still don't know their basic multiplication. I can't tell you the number of students who tell me that 8 X 4 is 36. It's shocking. And yet, politicians still want to push through merit pay based on test scores. I can tell you this, a student can't solve a quadratic equation by completing the square if they can't multiply 8 X 4. And multiplication is not a standard for me, yet I will paid on it? Fair?

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