Editorial: Schools don’t teach students

Published 10:31 am Thursday, September 15, 2011

It’s odd that the annual state-mandated tests of schoolchildren in Minnesota judge schools and not teachers.

After all, schools don’t teach students. Teachers do.

These tests are intended to help improve schools, but what can improve schools — and everyone knows this — is to keep the good teachers and push out the bad ones.

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That said, a test is not the answer for determining teacher performance. Every teacher in America builds upon the success of previous teachers. Even kindergarten teachers know it helps them when students have had some level of preschool education.

As a country, we need to get away from these school-achievement tests and move toward a review of teachers that would be subject to review by administration, parents and peer teachers.

Sure, student-achievement tests — if intended for the students and for the school leaders — always have been good. But tests that are tied to punitive measures for schools are flat-out a bad idea from the 1990s whose time came and, frankly, should be gone by now.

Let’s all be smarter in our approach to improving schools. Don’t put much weight in Minnesota MCA tests.