SCOT LEHIGH’S column “Race to top isn’t a race to the middle’’ (Op-ed, Sept. 24) made me reflect on the importance of rigorous state standards, assessment tests, and the absence of teachers’ voices in the discussions.
On a recent Friday morning, when I walked into my classroom at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, I saw the state English language arts standards posted above my blackboard. They’re there because, each day, the lessons I teach are based on those standards. That is what effective teachers do, and what all teachers are supposed to do.
Our current state MCAS exams are based upon those standards and whether students can meet them. While MCAS has its flaws, if it is not replaced by an equally rigorous test, I would be disappointed and, more important, my students would be shortchanged.
In response to Lehigh’s concerns, I read the Common Core State Standards for English language arts. I like that they are similar to our Massachusetts standards. But my concern is that voices of effective teachers need to be included in discussions about the new test instrument because ultimately we will be held accountable for students’ test results.
We can offer a priceless asset: the voice of experience. For example, we can offer suggestions on pedagogy and realistic solutions to implementation challenges. Including teachers’ voices might also alleviate some teachers’ concerns that these changes are being done to us, rather than with us.
It is time to bring teachers’ voices to the policy-making table.
Karene-Sean E. Hines