Classrooms Largely Unaffected By Standards, Survey Shows

By: - February 16, 2000 12:00 am

Every state but Iowa has embraced more rigorous academic standards, but a survey released today suggest that many public schools have not yet out in place the testing, promoting and accountability policies advocated by education reformers.

A project of the non-profit education organization Public Agenda and Education Week magazine, the third annual Reality Check survey looked at how teachers parents, employers and college professors perceive he standards movement. It was financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also funds and the GE Fund.

Only 44 percent of some 600 teachers interviewed said they expect more from their students because of standards. And almost half (48 percent) said their colleagues still pass students based on effort instead of how much they learn.

The bottom line: that standards policies now in place in 49 states are often out of synch with reality — reforms are not reaching the classroom.

“The standards legislation that has been passed appears to be having mixed results in changing the day-to-day lives of teachers and students. There is no doubt that there are positive developments in many areas, but this research is a warning that change will not filter down to the classroom automatically,” said Deborah Wadsworth, executive director of Public Agenda.

Only 22 percent of the teachers surveyed backed linking teacher pay to student achievement. Several pilot programs experimenting with this technique are in place in Denver and Douglas Counties in Colo., Charlotte-Mecklenbug, N.C., Rochester, N.Y., Robbinsdale, Minn., and East Aurora, Ill.

Fourteen states give schools monetary rewards for reaching performance criteria and in nine of those — Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah — some of the reward goes toward teacher bonuses.

You’ll find the full survey at Public Agenda Online or the Education Week Web site.

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