• The Breakdown of the Modern School System from a Studentís Perspective

    The bell rings, the teacher fights for the attention of the class. The kids settle down and the teacher starts to lecture. Weíve all been there right? The start of the school dreaded by students is something we have all been through and lived. But where is our education headed?

    Attachment 835

    To give you some background I am a 11th grade student in a middle class area of Virginia. I generally make all Aís and I havenít studied a day of my school career. In Virginia we have a test called the SOL (Standards of Learning) in core classes (Math, English, History, Science) we take an SOL at the end of the course and if you do not pass the SOL you do not pass the class.

    Now this puts our teachers in a predicament, teach the class at the pace the class need so it can learn or teach to make the deadline of the test so we know everything we need to know for the test. This puts extra pressure on the teachers to push the class in the direction the SOL wants them to go but not necessarily teach us want we need to know. The way I refer to this is teaching for the SOL.

    The SOL is part of the No Child Left Behind Act, but yet it seems it does just the opposite. With this test at the end of the course the teachers are forced to keep moving and canít stall on subjects that the class may need to continue to go over. For example lets take a course like Geometry for whatever reason the class is not getting the Pythagorean theorem Attachment 836which in Geometry is one of the basic formulas that is needed to do well in the course. The teacher has two options stop the progress of the class and get everyone up to speed which could prevent them to teach more on the back half of the year or keep moving leaving some of the class behind.

    In my 5 years taking the SOL I have seen this happen time and time again. The class is struggling but we have to move on because we ďNeedĒ the information. This isnít the teachers fault; itís not the students fault. Itís a Failed Act doing the exact opposite of what it should. The standardized testing keeps us students from learning what we need to know.

    The classes we take now have become a joke. We come into school knowing that either weíre not going to be challenged or that weíre hopelessly behind. All the while the teachers canít do anything about it because there jobs security is determined by there SOL testing results.

    I am not trying to bash the NCLBA because I think itís a good idea itís just gone wrong. If it is revised to the point were teachers can have more liberties to teach in a way that maybe is unconventional but comes across to there class, I will be the first one to support it. As it stands now though I will continue to watch my teachers struggle through the year to teach for the test.

    Link to NCLBA Description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act
    Actual NCLBA Text: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquer...:@@@D&summ2=0&