We Interviewed 100 Philly-Area Teachers About What It Takes to Raise Happy, Successful Kids

Brian Howard:

On the Expectations We Place on Kids
“Most parents believe their children are smarter than they actually are. On the plus side, children will often rise to the occasion. Conversely, some parents believe their children can skip certain parts of the curriculum, creating major gaps.” — A teacher at a Montgomery County public elementary school.

On Standardized Tests
“I am a huge fan of the new term ‘educational apartheid,’ and that’s how these standardized tests are used. It’s proving that the kids who have access, ability, resources and support can do well on these tests, and the kids who don’t have that, can’t.” — Sheila Myer

“They provide minimal to no useful feedback to classroom teachers.” — A kindergarten teacher at a West Philadelphia charter school

“We need to make sure all parents and kids know that anyone can opt out. Opt out if you wish to not put that stress on your student. Opt out; it’s okay!” — A middle-school teacher in the suburbs

“I know the grading in our school is incredibly inflated — everyone gets A’s. How do we differentiate? That’s where standardized testing comes in. But the pressure it puts on kids is extraordinary. It’s unfair to kids who don’t test well and will never be able to show how smart they are.” — A high-school teacher at a private single-sex school

“The stakes are too high for just a few weeks of testing. It is concerning that the written portions of the test are graded by non-educators with just a bachelor’s degree who get temp jobs by answering ads online.” — David Hensel

“I hate it. I hate it so much. It takes away from what you’re actually trying to do. I have to prepare my students for what’s going to be on that test. That leaves little room for my struggling students or for my high-achieving students. It keeps us all in second gear.” — Hector Wangia