Last week at a Palm Beach County Florida an astounding number of parents arrived at the longest school board meeting in history. This meeting was over six hours long due to the fact that the majority of parents are concerned about recent changes that have come about in the curriculum of their children.
One major change is to have assessments
that their students will have that are worked into the curriculum every two or three weeks instead of quarterly or by the semester. Another concern is that the school board wants to “compartmentalize” the elementary schools
. This would mean that the students would go from one room to another just like older students in a junior high school or high school setting. These changes have already been put into effect in every school. There was no regard given to the schools scores or any other criteria or need for change.
One parent started a Facebook page entitled “Testing is Not Teaching”. The response has been overwhelming and change in the school district has started to take place as front pages of newspapers cover the story.
This bring to mind a few questions:
- Do parents know what will work for the children better than school administrators?
- Are we helping schools evolve? And if we are evolving is it in a direction aimed for success and the needs of the future?
- What can we do for those students that simply don’t test well but may have all the knowledge needed for practical application?
- Can we really say that education is “one size fits all”?
- Should gifted children have to do the same assessments as all other students?
The discussion that this brings about could go on endlessly because it is a nationwide concern. We are all worried about things like the No Child Left Behind Act and what it really means for our children. Some think that the schools doing the worst need the federal funding the most so what happens when we take away federal funding? What happens to our students?
Another note is that this is a great example of the power that parents do have to stand up and be heard. Parents need to play a more active role. There needs to be mutual respect among educators and parents. It would be good if they could just agree on wanting what was best for each child and to know that somewhere in their ideas there is a middle ground where the student benefits most and without fail a place where there is a peaceful environment would be better for any child rather than arguing and bickering about exams. This is not to say that the issues do not need to be addressed but we could all take a lesson from the Palm Beach County parents. From my findings, they have acted with true concern, they have been patient and they have tried to be respectful but assertive.