David Waters of the Memphis Commercial Appeal highlights just a few of the ways policymakers are failing our state’s public schools. Here’s a bit of what he says:
The governor and education commissioner held a public meeting in Knoxville last week to hear from teachers, parents and students ideas about how to improve (or even actually conduct) TNReady standardized testing.
The meeting was held from 3-4:30 p.m. on a Friday. Most Knoxville area public schools don’t dismiss until 3:15 or later.
Most public school teachers and other educators keep working in their buildings until 4 p.m. or later to work on mounds of paperwork required by non-educator education officials in Nashville and Washington.
Most public school parents are at work until 5 or 6 p.m. or later on weekdays.
Of course, the meeting wasn’t exactly public, either.
Waters also points out one of the deficiencies of our state’s school funding formula, the BEP:
The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of no more than 1,000 students per school psychologist, and no more than 500 to 700 students per psychologist when more comprehensive and preventive services are being provided (as in most public schools).
Funding from Tennessee’s Basic Education Program covers one psychologist for every 2,500.
As a result, most public school psychologists spend most of their time conducting paperwork-intensive special education assessments that are required by federal law.
But today’s public school system was built by (and for) federal and state officials who aren’t educators and who sent their own kids to private or affluent public schools.
They don’t know what they don’t know, so there’s no way they passed this test.
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