By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Letter to the editor
Teaching, testing go hand in hand
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
In last Sunday’s OpEd section, a different Matt Phillips from Cumming expressed frustration over Georgia’s math curriculum.  Some parents are frustrated because their “children, who once excelled in math, are now struggling and doubt their abilities.”  Some animosity seems to be directed at state officials because of the focus on standardized testing. 

As a teacher at North Middle who has witnessed the development of the GPS and implemented them into my classroom, I can confidently say this perception is mistaken.

Our educators are certainly focused on the curriculum.  When they re-wrote the math curriculum, one of their chief goals was to raise the bar.  For far too long, we had students who succeeded in math until they got to college.  Our former math curriculum simply didn’t do the job. 

The GPS were written to lend a sharper focus to instruction.  All teachers have the same standards to teach and are held accountable for the teaching of those standards on the test at the end of the year.  The test is written directly from the standards.  So no wonder state officials say “there’s no wiggle room” in the curriculum “if we expect our students to do well on state testing.” 

Our students certainly won’t do well on the test if they haven’t been taught the standards.  Therefore, a focus on assessment and testing in mathematics is really, by default, a focus on the curriculum.  They go hand in hand. 

As for the new curriculum and its difficulty, I say we embrace the challenge and opportunity it provides our students.  The best indicator for future success is the present rigor of the curriculum to which a student is exposed.  In other words, we have to challenge them now.  The challenge they experience now will be tough, but as a colleague of mine from North always says,”kids take their cues from us.”  We can’t allow them to believe they have failed simply because they are struggling. 

The answer isn’t in changing the nature of the challenge.  It’s helping our students find ways to excel when the bar has been raised.

Matt Phillips


Editor’s note: This letter writer is a teacher at North Middle school. A letter last week taking a different position on this issue was written by someone who coincidently had the same name, and was not written by the North Middle teacher.