The article/e-mail by John S. Taylor, titled “The Best Dentist”, was interesting. I have had the opportunity to read articles similar to this one. Behind the humorous facade lies a deep and troubling truth. The measure of our ability and proficiency as educators, as well as, of a schools district’s worth is in the hands of politicians, with the possibility that none of them have educational backgrounds. The reporting of their findings is in the hands of a largely liberal media. Sadly, the public is willing to take much of this propaganda at face value rather than investigating the issue themselves.
As I have had the opportunity to talk to parents, regarding state testing being used to measure the effectiveness of our public schools. Some are confused by the newspaper and news reports about the local school districts, concerning the percentage of students who score advanced, proficient, basic and below basic, on state PSSA tests. They are appalled to learn how Pennsylvania goes about grading the PSSA tests. None of the dozens of parents I have spoken to have any idea that regardless of what we do to prepare the students in our schools, at least half of all public school students in Pennsylvania will receive basic or below basic scores. It is even possible that students who were proficient one year, will be basic the next. They also are not aware that charter schools, home school students, and students attending parochial schools, are not required to take state tests.
The scenario in this article may be funny for some, but for thousands of public school administrators and teachers this is our reality. The comments by the dentist, “Don’t you see that dentists don’t all work with the same clientele; so much depends on things we can’t control?” I fail to see how our elected officials cannot see that this is exactly the absurd standard they are holding public educators to.
I conclusion, I have a dream that one day every politician in Pennsylvania will have to pass...