Accountability in education is extremely important. However, I believe we have gone overboard and are more worried about test results than the actual learning of the child. And that is a concern to me.
In the early years at Gilbert Elementary, we were able to offer different options for parents for their children. We had primary multi-age classes that were first, second and third grade together and intermediate with fourth and fifth grades. We also offered looping in first and second grades where students and teachers moved together to the next grade. Another incredible program was dual language where students learned in both English and Spanish. And of course, we had traditional classrooms. There were many options and we had many boundary exceptions from other schools and other districts.
Many of these programs have gone away because of the testing demands. The one thing that I absolutely believe that no matter what is mandated or legislated, no one can ever take away the basic relationship building. When a teacher closes the door and starts to teach, success will happen when children know that they are cared about.
I do think that we need to remember the whole child. Music, art, and PE are incredibly important. Many children are brilliant in different ways and we can't forget that. Children are our most important resource in this country and we need to take care of this resource and do the absolute best for the future of our country. Being an educator is a noble profession and it is sad that there are fewer and fewer people wanting to become educators. Maybe I will have a new mission in my "next" life................