Accountability of Teachers

By: Steven Ochoa

Background of Teaching Standards Today

Many teachers today are held to a much higher standard then ever before. This is due to many new federal and state mandates put in place to ensure students are learning required material. Student’s performances are monitored through state tests in reading, mathematics, and sometimes science. Many teachers’ performance evaluations are strictly based on their student’s scores on these tests, including salary increases. This all began in 2001 when congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act. The goal was to improve the scores of students who hadn’t performed well on standardized tests in the past. Schools that didn’t pass requirements were labeled as “not meeting adequate yearly progress,” and after three years of not meeting standards students in that school could transfer to another district school.

Personal Experiences

I believe that these new mandates were good for schools in the country. It greatly improved the teaching because now they know students must past these tests in order to keep their jobs. With improved teaching comes improved student learning which is always a positive. Another positive that comes out of these mandates is giving students the opportunity to transfer to another school if the one they are zoned to hasn’t met standards. Students shouldn’t suffer in their learning just because they live in an area zoned to a bad school. For example, in the district I went to high school in there was a school that didn’t meet standards because of this we had about 10-15 students that were bused to my high school from there. After talking to a few of them, I found that they were much better prepared for life after high school having transferred schools. I’m also in favor of these mandates because parents and students should be allowed to know how good the schools are where they live. Many families do take that into consideration when they choose a place to live but not all families have that luxury. So students in bad schooling areas shouldn’t be penalized because the school can’t get it right. If the school has failed to meet standards for three years students should be allowed to transfer to another school within the district so they can receive the proper schooling they are entitled to. Also during my high school years, I noticed that teachers would spend extra time making sure students who normally struggled were getting the help they needed. Teachers sometimes did this through offering extra tutorial sessions and also calling on them more in class to make sure they understood the concepts. They knew based off the grades of the students who needed more attention. This was more evident in classes such as math and English. Every student deserves the opportunity to receive a proper education that will help in their lives after high school. Teachers should also make efforts to help the students that struggle not just so they can pass the state tests but also to show that a teacher cares about their students. Sometimes just providing that extra push can make all the difference in a student’s educational future.