Thursday, July 5, 2007

Public Schools Bureaucracy Prioritizes Paperwork Over Instruction

The New York Times has a very disheartening article entitled "So Much Paperwork, So Little Time to Teach" about one teacher's frustration with how much paperwork, standardized testing, and other bureaucratic red tape cut into her instructional time:
"Essentially, her teaching year, and her students’ learning year, had run only from mid-October to mid-April, with numerous interruptions even then....Teachers like Ms. Rabenau were also repeatedly conscripted within their schools to substitute for absent colleagues, to proctor exams in other classes, and to chaperone field trips."
How on earth are teachers supposed to educate their students when they are spending such an inordinate amount of time on administrative matters? Does it really serve children's best interests to have their teachers fill out
"more than a dozen different forms, evaluations, assessments and reports that came variously from the levels of district, city, state and federal government"?
This is a great example of how much more efficient homeschooling is than traditional schooling. I don't need to waste time completing a bunch of paperwork or administering standardized tests to figure out how my child is doing. If I want to see if she knows something, often all it takes is a quick conversation or demonstration. I don't have to prove anything to a bunch of bureaucrats at City Hall, Sacramento, or D.C.

I am keeping samples of her work in her portfolio so that I can document growth in her capabilities. The effort/benefit ratio of this type of assessment, however, is vastly superior to the ones Ms. Rabenau complained about in the NYT article.

1 comment:

Dana said...

So true! And I remember those days. I don't like paperwork as it is, but pointless, redundant paperwork is the worst!