EDU 650: Teaching, Learning, & Leading in the 21st Century
No Teacher Left Behind
As a nation, we should provide learning opportunities for teachers through consistent delivery of on-going training. By definition, on-going training would be equivalent to professional development utilized in most school districts across the nation. The question becomes, who regulates the on-training and how would one determine what type of training a teacher would need. For example, in the No Child Left Behind Act, schools were graded based upon “…adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward statewide proficiency goals will, over time, be subject to improvement, corrective action, and restructuring measures aimed at getting them back on course to meet State standards. Schools that meet or exceed AYP objectives or close achievement gaps will be eligible for State Academic Achievement Awards.” (NCLB, 2001) In this instance, teachers were held accountable for low performing schools which in turn resulted in students being taught the state standardized test. In South Carolina, this became an epidemic and children were still not meeting the standard.
Teachers should be held accountable for the performance of their students but teachers should be granted access to appropriate training regardless of the district. Therefore, state and federal funding for improved schools should be equally distributed to ensure equitable distribution of on-going training for teachers.
Teachers should be required to achieve a level of competence across the country and not just based upon state standards. The Common Core State Standards is an example of which practices should be implemented by teachers of various subject areas. Although not all states have adopted the Common Core Standards, each state should review and address the possibility of adoption. The mission of the common core standards is to establish “high-quality education” for young people. (corestandards.org) The standards are to address best practices for the teaching and learning environment. If each state adopted the Common Core, then accountability by school, school district, state, and national would be more aligned and therefore provide even more consistency across the nation. Without the common core standards, states and school districts will be able to continue to implement a curriculum based upon the trend of the state. This method may damper or hinder the teaching and learning environment and continue the large learning gap currently seen across the country.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a certification process for teachers. Candidates of this program participate on a voluntary basis but this program is become the standard for teachers across the country. NBCT is designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers, and to embed ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. (NBPTS, 2014) This program “is a peer-reviewed assessment process designed by teachers for teachers and covers five core propositions.” (NBPTS, 2014)
The five core propositions include:
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
- Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students.
- Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning.
- Teacher think systematically about their practice and learn from experience.
- Teacher are members of learning communities. (NBPTS, 2014)
Because this program is voluntary, some teachers do not proceed with the certification because of the costs associated with becoming nationally certified. The NBCT does provide a higher standard for teachers to achieve a set of specific standards related to the teaching discipline. For the most part, all teachers should attempt to become nationally board certified because the certification provides a foundation for the teacher to become a better facilitator of learning through the use of varied methods.
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
ISTE identifies five standards for teachers. These standards included:
- Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
- Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessment
- Model digital age work and learning
- Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility
- Engage in professional growth and leadership
Each of these five standards provides a framework for teachers to begin or enhance their careers. In most cases, teachers are overwhelmed with common core as well as meeting the demands of the district he or she is employed. Teachers are expected to meet and exceed the expectations students, parents, and community at all times. Therefore, how does a teacher (professional) remain committed to the purpose? The purpose of providing a conducive teaching and learning environment which assists all students exceed and perform at high levels. Assessment is key to implementation but when is a teacher allowed the opportunity to develop, assess, and redevelop based upon the needs of the students he or she is assisting at any given time.