To fail or to not pass…

Ethics play a role in virtually any situation.  Weather your own ethics, those of the company you are representing, codes of ethics, anything. They exist, or they should at least.

By now the Atlanta teacher scandal has made national news and is well known.  For a quick background, 35 educators in a Georgia teaching scandal allegedly changed the scores on their students state standardized tests. They reportedly did this to increase the passing rate of students in their districts (and gain bonuses). Ethical or unethical? 

They claimed to do this to help the image of their school districts and students.  The pressure placed on teachers to have their students pass these ridiculous ‘standardized’ tests is getting crazier and crazier.  In some states if a certain percentage of your students fail, you receive disciplinary action.  Others if a certain percentage pass you receive bonuses and great praise.  So where is the line?  The question always comes into play of what exactly should you be teaching to ensure you actually teach for one, but that you teach the material that will be on these tests.  Teaching has turned into teaching for tests, not teaching for teaching.  Many teachers argue these tests that are supposed to be standardized don’t actually correctly represent what you should know at each grade level you are required to participate in the testing. So how do you draw a line in what you need your students to know to be successful and what they need to know to pass a test that allows you to keep your job?

Of course the answer is never cheating or changing scores on tests for your students, that’s pretty obvious, and other ways to handle this situation could have been implemented.  So now what?  Is this a reality shock to the testing creators to re evaluate their tactics or just a case of teachers wanting to be the best?  Ethics come into play pretty heavily in this situation and I’m sure there will be people on both sides of the ethical/unethical spectrum.  What are your thoughts?


Vote what for schools?

Voting on any matter can be controversial.  There are always going to be people for and against the proposed issue regardless of how great or ridiculous any issue is.  The big debate in Ellensburg recently is weather or not to pass a bond to build a new middle school.

Morgan Middle School, which is over 50 years old, is virtually failing apart and said to be unsafe for the students attending.  The bond proposes a $39.9 million dollar new school to be built on the same land area of the high school and Valley View Elementary. 

Now weather you agree with the financials of a new school or not you’d have to read the bond and tax rate information to be fully educated.  However basic facts about the new school need to be considered.  From a PR standpoint, I believe the school board and supporters of the bond should be publicized more information about the bond and what the new school will do for the community.  Key facts weren’t published in the many news articles regarding the issue and instead focused heavily on the tax part of the equation.  

Why did they chose the new land spot?  Grouping together almost all of the community schools in one area seems interesting.  I’m sure they received some deal on the land or have some reasoning behind it but think about what adding another school to that block is going to do to traffic.  Or if a Newtown situation were ever to occur, almost all of our youth would be in one general area. 

What is going to happen to the current middle school?  The whole reasoning behind needing a new school is that Morgan is ‘condemned’ on some levels and ‘falling apart’.  Recently I’ve heard rumors from some well respected community members that they plan to move the elementary students from Lincoln into the middle school after the new is built so how does that even make sense.

If the bond does not pass, then what?  If that school is as bad as it’s made out to be that would mean that it will literally fall down in the next few years.  Where will the middle school students go then?  To the high school where they are exposed to drugs and other situations past their maturity levels?

Rather than seeing teachers and supporters out holding signs on the street and a few meetings regarding the bond I have seen virtually no information aside from taxes.  When supporting a cause, or promoting anything really, it’s important to lay out basic facts that the voters or potential supporters will want to know.  The school board could have taken larger use of social media and held community meetings for people to ask questions like these and others. 

Even when it comes to politics, PR is everywhere.