How is all this education reform – with its increased testing and decreased funding – affecting the classrooms in schools in Indiana? Experienced teachers who have seen the “before” and are now seeing the “after” of all these “reforms” are feeling increased pressure to ensure that their students score high on these tests. Here are two examples of how classes are coping with these changes:
My grandson’s teacher (a kindergarten class) has eliminated second recess. Her explanation: She says new standards are more academic, and her salary depends on high test scores from her 5- and 6-year-olds. So these young learners have only 20 minutes of recess in their full day of kindergarten. This is contrary to research that shows young children need a play time or recess to process all that they have learned.
I know a high school teacher who needs computers in a computer lab for mandatory testing and has 38 students but only 30 computers. There are two problems here – large classes and an insufficient number of computers. The combination of increased testing and less money to pay for additional computers is creating a difficult situation.
Indiana spent $33 million on testing in 2011-2012. The next year that amount was increased to $46 million. In 2011-2012 the state gave out $15 million in vouchers for private schools and increased that amount to $37 million in 2013-2014. These increased expenditures have been made at the expense of students and teachers in public schools.
Our children deserve better!