Dear teacher: Thanks for all the test prep…

Dear Teacher, 

I just want to take a moment to thank you for all that you did for me when I was in your class. Now that I’m out of high school, I really appreciate it even more. When I started your English class, I knew that my test scores were kind of low, and I was really committed to improving my performance on two of the subtests. You saw that potential in me, and even more. 

So begins a Swiftean post by high school English teacher David B. Cohen at InterACT, a new group blog sponsored by the Accomplished California Teachers organization.

By providing me with chances to read anthologized literary excerpts and random workplace documents, all followed by multiple choice assessments, you showed a commitment to my learning, and my test scores that spring really proved how far I had come. I was totally comfortable dealing with any readings chosen for me, and comfortable choosing the answers to other people’s questions. I also remember that you showed us how to answer the questions without even doing most of the reading, and that sure did help on the test!

Cohen’s dark satire continues:

I don’t know if you heard, but I’ve taken a break from school. I tried it for a year, but none of the instructors cared as much as you did, so it was hard to connect. A lot of times they assigned us really long readings and didn’t even give us any points for doing all that homework. Then, we had to write essays on these ridiculously hard questions where you couldn’t even find the answer in the books. I did my best and put together my five paragraphs and everything, and I still got low grades…It’s just too bad that all those skills we practiced in your class don’t even seem to matter in college….

David is one of several TLN members involved in the launch of ACT. The group has received start-up support from the Stuart Foundation and will be housed under the umbrella of the School of Education at Stanford University.  “Our mission,” says the blog’s About page, “is to amplify teacher voice in educational policy and research, while providing our members with resources and support to become more effective leaders at every level—from their department or school right on up to state and national initiatives.”

Rumor has it that ACT will soon release its first policy report, on the timely topic of teacher evaluation.

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