#4: In Public School, the EOC Rules Supreme
In the next few weeks, millions of public schooled students will take their EOC’s (End of Course exams).
On the wall of most public school classrooms is a chart listing what your State’s School Board has decided students must be taught during the semester in order to be prepared to take their upcoming EOC’s. Even though your student’s teachers are supposed to be experts in the subjects they teach—and even though your student’s teachers have spent years learning how to teach their subjects—your student’s teachers have no choice but to work through The Chart in order for their students to be prepared to do well on the only truly important test they will take all year. Teachers are not told the kind of questions their students will face on the EOC even though the questions were written last year (before the school year began).
At the beginning of each school year, teachers are handed a Teacher’s Textbook which may or may not contain information adequate to prepare their students for the questions they will face on the EOC. In every class, some students will fall behind during the year due to vacations, illness, or simply because the student did not grasp one of the concepts on The Chart. When this happens, it is difficult for the student to catch up as The Chart must be worked through by the time of the EOC.
Most important to the teacher is their annual evaluation which is based mainly on how well, or how poorly, their students do on the EOC. Teacher evaluations are meant to weed out poorly performing teachers. What they also do is put the best teachers at risk of losing their jobs, or of being punished, should they believe they know better what students should learn than what The Chart tells them to teach.
Next post: #5
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