Each and every parent has an outcome that they want for their kids. That desired outcome has NOTHING to do with educating their child. What they want is for their child to receive good grades, so that child can "get into a good college." The parents don't care if the child actually learns anything. The goal is good grades. If their child doesn't receive high marks, then they blame the teacher for picking on the child, claiming favoritism. Even when you show them that the exams are all multiple choice, and the correct answer was not selected by the child, the parent continues blaming the teacher. I even had one parent accuse me of substituting an incorrectly marked test for their child's test, so I could make her look bad.
The State legislature and State Department of Education:
The state continuously changes the standards that each course must meet, and the tests that the students must take at the end of the course in order for the child to demonstrate that he or she has met that standard. These benchmarks mirror common core. I don't necessarily have a problem with common core itself. As I have blogged in the past, the benchmarks make sense, it's just that there are so many things that the students must learn in only 189 days of class.
That brings me to my next point: There are 189 days of school. In those 189 days, the students spend 36 of them taking standardized tests that are required by the state. That does't count my tests, nor does it count other things like pep rallies and other school events. That leaves only about 140 days for actual learning to take place, and there were 83 benchmarks for the students in Biology last year. Benchmarks like:
- Analyze strategies for prevention, detection, and treatment of communicable and chronic diseases.
- Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks, attending to special cases or exceptions defined in the text.
- Analyze the movement of matter and energy through the different biogeochemical cycles, including water and carbon.
- Identify the reactants, products, and basic functions of aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration.