What has happened to education in the U.S.?

We are just back from New York and New Jersey where we interviewed a number of teachers who are part of our longitudinal study. Since we have been following these teachers for 7 years, I (Clare) feel I know them well. These are very able educators who are now working in very difficult conditions because of external constraints. I heard stories of them having to submit DETAILED lesson plans regularly (for the following two weeks), being observed/assessed five times per year, having to change their programs in order to comply with the Common Core, assessing the children an excessive amount, having to forgo pedagogies/books/activities they know are what the children need, and tying their teacher evaluations to student performance on standardized tests. All of these supposed measures to improve education in fact are undermining education. These teachers are spending so much time testing and writing lesson plans, they do not have time to actually work with the children. And they know what needs to be done and how to do it! All reported HIGH levels of stress. They are being deprofessionalized as these overbearing compliance methods are imposed on them. The phrase, lack of respect, was uttered over and over again by them. When asked the question — If you had to do it over again, would you become a teacher? – the responses were disheartening. Most said no and many said they are actively thinking about other careers. What has happened to education in the U.S.?

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