Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

PDK. Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

PDK. Emerging Leaders Speak Out

Article excerpt

Q: Are international measures of student achievement leading education policy in the right direction?

ISABEL MORALES

Morales earned her Ed.D. from the University of Southern California and is a founding teacher of the Los Angeles High School of the Arts. She was named a Teacher of the Year by the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2014. She is a PDK Emerging Leader 2013-14.

International measures of student achievement have given rise to education policies that are formulated around oversimplified, exaggerated, and sensationalized data. Policy makers and the media continually express their dismay at the performance of our students on international measures of student achievement. By allowing numbers and rankings to determine how we measure educational quality, we run the risk of narrowing our view of education and the curriculum we offer our students. How do these international exams measure for skills that are important to our economic and democratic well-being, such as character, creativity, and civic engagement?

I teach a nontested grade level and subject area--12th-grade Government and Economics--in California. The freedom from tests allows me to creatively teach students the content and skills that will help them become empowered and active community members. I recently received a PDK Innovation and Impact grant that will allow my students to use GIS software to map the needs of their communities and present policy recommendations to community leaders and elected officials. I am glad that I have the freedom to develop engaging, rigorous, and meaningful projects for my students. Rather than preparing them for a test, I am preparing them for life.

JEREMY KOSELAK

Koselak earned a Master of Arts in Special Education from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and is director of the Tutoring Center at Palmer High School, Colorado Springs, Colo. …

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