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 The Audacity of Hope 
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I hear politicians saying that money will not solve all the problems of inner city schools. I admire what Barack Obama writes in his book The Audacity of Hope.

"Sometimes we need both cultural transformation and government action---a change in values and a change in policy---to promote the kind of society we want. The state of our inner-city schools is a case in point. All the money in the world won't boost student achievement if parents make no effort to instill in their children the values of hard work and delayed gratification. BUT WHEN WE AS A SOCIETY PRETEND THAT POOR CHILDREN WILL FULFILL THEIR POTENTIAL IN DILAPIDATED, UNSAFE SCHOOLS WITH OUTDATED EQUIPMENT AND TEACHERS WHO AREN'T TRAINED IN THE SUBJECTS THEY TEACH, WE ARE PERPETUATING A LIE ON THOSE CHILDREN, AND ON OURSELVES. WE ARE BETRAYING OUR VALUES."

I think America has betrayed its values by letting the conditions persist that are found in Cedric's school. As long as we remain voiceless and do not speak out, as educators, we are also perpetuating the lie spoken above. As long as we think that our vote does not matter, we are also perpetuating this lie. I hope to God that I can abide by my principles as a school administrator and not compromise what is right for the sake of political expediency.

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"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." M. Twain


Sat Feb 17, 2007 1:08 pm
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John,
I so agree with you. Too often we compromise our principles because it seems easier to let the political wheel turn when it is actually crushing us along with the children who depend on us to give them the tools they need to have a future different from that we have seen in the trailer video. I believe in my heart that teaching the curriculum will result in successful scores that the politicians covet, but we cannot sacrifice creative and engaging teaching that enlightens our students and teaches them about life beyond the standard course of study.

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Jackie Shaw


Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:24 pm
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Jackie, we also need to keep in mind that is the creative and engaging teaching that will reach the diverse learning styles of our students. Lecture and notes may reach some, but it stiffles others and turns some students completely off. We need to teach the standard course of study, but we need to do it in a way that is meaningful and not rote drill.

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Lisa Fortenberry


Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:29 pm
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I agree Jackie, if the tests that are developed are not "gotcha tests." Also, if the test truly matches the standard course of study. I seem to remember that the language arts curriculum in the mid 90s did not match the EOC for ninth grade English. Of course the powers that be said it matched, but the curriculum at that time was so broad, you could have had students draw stick person diagrams on a sheet of paper and you would have tested the curriculum.

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"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." M. Twain


Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:33 pm
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What a great topic of conversation. We have to begin with quality teaching that moves past highly certified. I disagree with the idea that the HQ status for teaching is the best route to take. Just because I am certified to teach does not mean that I need to be in a classroom. There are people out on the streets, everyday joes who have superb answers to our schools problems. It should not be about certification nor should it be about a test that I take. What matters is the childs learning and the quality of that learning. Certification does not equal qualification.

Drill and practice cannot be thrown out of the window because some students need that sort of teaching style. Think about those who have a processing deficiency. They need that daily dose of repetition. Drill and practice does not equal lecture or copies from a machine. Leaders have to be able to show teachers how to repeat information in a manner that fits all students. I review everyday; however, that review; the drill and practice, comes in many forms.

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Alisa Ferguson
MSA, ASU, summer 2007


Sat Feb 24, 2007 1:50 pm
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Standardized tests are the number one enemy of a successful school IF administration mishandles how they are viewed. Concentrate on good teaching that engages students and test scores will take care of themselves. Concentrate on nothing but standardized tests and watch them go downhill.

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Neil Atkins


Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:51 pm
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Right on, Neil! Let'f focus on the engagement and actual learning...the test scores will come...

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Leigh Anne Frye


Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:29 pm
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Live by the test, die by the test! It's not the test that makes the student. There is great potential in a number of students who may not pass the EOG's or score high on the SAT. Some students just don't do well on a test. We have often heard "don't judge a book by its cover!" So, why judge a student by a test score! Neil and Alisa I agree, the focus should be on great teaching.

Great teachers may not always have the highest scores, but they fill the world with life long learners.

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Iredell County


Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:47 pm
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Billy great thoughts, just wish politicians understood that concept like you do.

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Tim Hoffman


Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:52 am
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Billy, I totally agree. My dyslexic sister has a masters degree in psychology, which she could never have gotten if it were not for someone in education seeing value in her other than a test score. She is an incredibly smart woman who has had to overcome a disability diagnosed very late in high school just to prove that she was worthy of a diploma and entry to college, because of the amazingly great emphasis we put on standardized testing.

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Logan McGuire


Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:31 pm
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