Our public schools are under fire these days for not "educating" our students to the public's satisfaction. We hear that our country's scores on PISA are miserable, that our students are unprepared for college, and that America's students are being left behind. Teachers are being evaluated based on test scores or the growth model (based on test scores). Companies inundate principals with promises to increase student proficiency in reading, or math, or science if we purchase their product. As school budgets shrink, principals are forced to make difficult decisions regarding which positions to keep and which ones to eliminate to balance the budget. Sadly, positions for counselors, librarians, music, and art are often the first to be cut as schools focus their energies on raising test scores to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind.
As a principal, I need to balance the goal of ensuring that our students have the skills to meet AYP while also focusing on what education can and should be in today's 21st century world. It shouldn't be only about passing a statewide assessment with a targeted score. There is so much more to learning than what can be measured on an on-line assessment. This sea urchin project will be an example of the 3R's meeting the 4C's! and I can't wait to see the teaching and learning this year!