Teaching in the 408’s TMAO, who teaches English language learners in California, responds to the news that a judge has struck down the state’s high school exit exam. He has mixed feelings about the ruling. He agrees that low-income and minority students face “pervasive and debilitating” inequities in schooling and have not had the same opportunities as other kids to learn the tested material. Yet, as a teacher, he remains torn:
Torn, because I believe in the power of teachers and schools to overcome those inequities and the obstacles they erect. I believe that the adults who run schools have the power to create environments where are students are capable of meeting (at least!) these basic requirements. This is a belief I held in college and the last four years of teaching have only served to strengthen and reinforce it. Lack of motivation, poverty, ELL status, family troubles—there is no excuse for the failure to educate kids, only poor attempts to rationalize and explain away that failure.
A nice expression, we thought, of the ambiguity—a certain compassion mixed with no-nonsense ambition—that many educators seem to feel during our age of accountability.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.