One of the current hot topics in teaching is the concept of a “re-do.” Proponents of the re-do consider it an opportunity for students to show what they know when their efforts fall short of the expected standards. Compassionate teachers know that measuring students at one point in time has its faults. Re-dos allow wiggle room for teachers and students. Re-dos offer students a way to dig themselves out of potential failure.
In that same spirit, it is time for a re-do in public education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan needs to ask the American public for a re-do on his quickly failing policies. Race to the Top, the Common Core State Standards and a poorly designed teacher evaluation system are seriously flawed.
Parents, students, politicians, administrators, and teachers question the rationale behind the U.S. Department of Education’s current efforts on school reform. The major stakeholders in education no longer have faith in the direction of federal and state mandates.
School systems are being held hostage because they accepted federal funds to adopt the Common Core and its associated guidelines for testing and teacher evaluation. Many states lack the courage to stand up to the feds. Teachers in New York, however, are calling for a testing moratorium and pulling their support for the Common Core:
Is it possible that Mr. Duncan will stand up and admit that while his intentions were good, his policies are failing? Is it worth it to alienate parents, students, and teachers in the process of reforming American schools? What harm is there in stepping back a minute to re-evaluate the state of education in America? I assure you that, in the absence of a testing-heavy accountability system, teachers will continue to work hard and do what is best for their students.
Mr. Duncan, it’s okay to ask for a re-do. It will give you time to fix your mistakes and, in the end, you might just create an enduring legacy. Imagine how fondly historians would portray you if you were the one politician who admitted he was wrong and did something about it. There is time to fix your grade. The re-do must be submitted soon, otherwise failure is inevitable. You’re on the clock.