LOOK BEYOND THE FCAT TEACHERS TOLD By Roxanne Escobales07/28/06
Hillsborough County public school teachers gathered today in downtown Tampa for a bit of praise and a bit of direction before the start of the school year. 18,000 teachers crowded into the St. Petersburg Times Forum to hear a leading educationalist tell them that if they wanted to succeed they had to look beyond the FCAT.
ACT: Star spangled banner
Hillsborough County bus driver Cheryl Kegler opened the teachers rally this morning. Guest speaker and accomplished educationalist Dr Willard Daggett picked up on this patriotic theme, telling the audience he thought America had the best educational system in the world, and then soon after he lambasted the current curriculum in county schools
ACT: rip van winkle
He warned, the increasingly globalised economy could herald a diminishing supply of jobs for Bay area students if the educational system kept its focus on passing standardized tests.
ACT: You have more tests than god thought possible.
The problem, Daggett said, is that no one in the chain of command believes he is the problem.
Daggett told the educators of Hillsborough County students that reading needed to be taught across all disciplines and not in isolation. But more importantly, he said, teachers needed to be better acquainted with cutting edge technology. Youth, Daggett said, are the first ones to adopt new technology, and their teachers are the last.
The FCAT only teaches kids low level skills. Daggett applauded the fact that 70 percent of elementary schools earned an A or B grade, that 88 percent of middle schools earned A grades and that 12 of the countyâ€™s high schools were named on Newsweek magazines list of top schools. But, he said that If the US is to compete with emerging economies such as China and India, teachers need to reach beyond standardized testing.
The FCAT remains a divisive issue in Bay area schools as was evident after the rally.
Teachers got a pay raise of 14.5 percent and theyâ€˜ll be back in the classroom next week on August 3 when school doors open for students.