The rapidly becoming infamous RAISE Act has been carefully dissected by many educators.  Anne Palmer, a longtime teacher in the Vestavia Hills school system being among them.  Here are the top 10 reasons she believes this proposed legislation is a step backwards.

Alabama has made great strides in education, and we must continue to focus on improving student learning. This bill is likely to blur that focus and create problems, not improved learning, for the students.

Top 10 ways RAISE could negatively impact student learning:

  1. It increases the likelihood that teachers will teach to the test, increasing the amount of class time preparing for the test, emphasizing scores and grades while actually de-emphasizing the process of learning;

2.  It increases days dedicated to testing, decreasing instructional time;

3. It provides no framework for supporting critical thinking by the students in the classroom;

4. It requires teacher evaluation by people unfamiliar with the class, the teacher, and the student situation, making such evaluators unable to    evaluate the truestudent learning occurring in a classroom;

    5.  It invites litigation of multiple types, which will drain money from the funds available for improving education for all students;

    6. It requires the creation of tests in multiple subject areas, when the creation of such tests will take a tremendous amount of time and will drain even more funds from education;

    7. It is likely to cause teachers to be afraid to innovate and reach the students in creative and successful but unconventional ways because the teachers may fear criticism or the loss of their jobs if they do not conform to perceived expectations;

   8. It is likely to cause students to suppress critical and creative thinking because they know that they will have a high-stakes test at the end of the course,and because they know that such tests are almost always computer-graded, with defined right and wrong answers, although precisely such critical and creative thinking is essential in a democracy;

   9. It is likely to standardize learning beyond what is desirable, suppressing particularly the high-end students’ critical, independent, and innovative thinking;

   10. It is likely for all these reasons to have serious negative effects in the classroom and beyond, in all the places where students should be able to use the knowledge they ought to be gaining in the classroom.