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Administrators want "rigor"...or do they?

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Administrators want "rigor"...or do they?
Old 02-23-2020, 10:37 PM
 
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One of my frustrations as a teacher in 2020 is this idea of administration demanding that we have rigor and high standards in the classroom, yet when we do, they yell at us about the low grades and want us to decrease our standards so that kids can pass easily & without having to do much work. They can't have it both ways. They want us to figuratively hold our students' hands and spoon-feed them, but at the same time, have rigor. I don't get it.

I teach both general education and honors/AP classes at the high school level. In both cases, an inordinate amount of my students are lazy and entitled. In my advanced classes, they'll eventually do the work--albeit begrudgingly (which I don't get because they signed up for the class...). But in my gen ed classes, getting them to read a chapter for homework and answering 5 study guide questions seems to be the equivalent of asking them to climb Mt. Everest. I'm not asking a whole lot. It seems perfectly reasonable to have a student in a high school English class read a chapter from a book for homework. These are juniors and seniors in high school and it's quite ridiculous. They don't want to work and they don't want to think for themselves, yet they (and their parents) want As and Bs. I've had to drop my standards in order to keep sanity this year, which goes against every fiber of my being. But I was going crazy and had to make changes for self-preservation.

In fact, many teachers at my school have just given up and decided to go with the flow. Students can do the bare minimum (or nothing at all) and still pass. This way, parents and admin can stay off the teacher's case. I don't want to be that teacher, but at the same time, I can understand how teachers who have "given up" got to that point. I'd rather quit the profession before I stay in this job just to collect a paycheck. I guess that's another topic for a different post.

Anyway, in an effort to increase rigor (and test scores) our curriculum director has decided to make our school to start implementing pre-AP coursework in our general education curriculum--regardless of if students intend to take AP classes as upperclassmen. Obviously with this pre-AP coursework, the standards have to be high and the rigor has to be increased. All teachers are required to implement this pre-AP coursework correctly. In our staff meeting, a brave teacher directly questioned if administrators were prepared to support us once/if grades dropped as a result of the more rigorous curriculum. He also asked if they were prepared to defend us once parents started complaining about the workload. Her answer? "We'll cross that bridge when we get there."

You could feel the whole room collectively roll their eyes at her response. Everyone already knows what's going to happen. As soon as parents complain and grades drop, we're going to have to go back to doing the same old, same old. The parents and students rule the school. Teacher autonomy is being taken away and we are essentially being made to "push kids through" the education system. There are no expectations at this point and I'm honestly feeling over it.

But, I do feel a little better now that I've been able to vent...


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Rigor
Old 02-24-2020, 08:40 AM
 
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Itís one of the reasons I retired. I couldnít take anymore mumbo jumbo, practice dujour, idiocy from people who didnít work in the trenches.

Children are neither data nor statistics.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:06 PM
 
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Glad.to.be.retired.
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Old 02-24-2020, 02:16 PM
 
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You're right, your frustration is understandable, but unfortunately, that's the way things are going. I know a university professor who has been at it for a long time, and he told grade inflation in his department is alive and well.

There are probably a few students who do all the work and honestly deserve their high grades. I'd quietly let them and their parents know that you'll be happy to write glowing letters of recommendation for college scholarships.
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Old 02-24-2020, 02:28 PM
 
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They want to say that they're providing rigor, but they don't actually want to do it.


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Old 02-24-2020, 02:39 PM
 
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And these same students will go on to college, go $60,000 into debt for a major that may or may not have any use, and then want to have no consequence to their decisions.

Trade school is looking better for young people all the time.
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Old 02-24-2020, 09:50 PM
 
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I could say a lot about this from seeing a lot of different schools, districts and various subjects. Sometimes I will cover an Avid class and I am helping the kids with their class work. At least in English, things have seemed to go in the dumbing down direction.

Kids donít read whole novels as a class, or they read parts of a book, and what they read is usually easy, like sophomores reading to kill a mockingbird. I mean, come on!
Iíve even seen honors classes that were a complete joke. Maybe AP classes are actually on target for what grade the kids are, but even then Iíve seen them write two essays for the whole year or do a lot of Socratic seminars.

My first mentor teacher cooked the books for her grades and purposefully gave dumbed down quizzes that didnít look for any critical thinking. This was in a school with small classes and lots of resources, but she was worried about parents giving her a hard time. If anything, most of these kids had the potential to do hard work, she just chose to not do it. Math and science seem like they are more in line with what is expected of kids. Social studies and English have taken a back seat, unless itís a school in a rich area. Itís all very unfortunate.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:17 AM
 
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"They want to say that they're providing rigor, but they don't actually want to do it."

Yes.

By the way I haven't figured out how to do the quoting feature on here yet.
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Old 02-25-2020, 07:01 AM
 
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YES!!!!! Thank you. I was just saying this the other data. SHAME on public education policy makers for trying to reduce children to data plots and paperwork.
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