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Volume 4 Number 4

No matter how many hundred of millions of dollars are spent, school reform initiatives will continue to produce unsatisfying results until we unflinchingly address the critical problem of teacher quality.
We're Still Leaving the Teachers Behind...
We're Still Leaving the Teachers Behind by Vivian Troen & Katherine C. Boles
Bureaucrat's Field of Dreams: If You Test Them They Will Learn -- A Rousing, Rip-Roaring,Raving Rant by Bill Page
That's My Job! Promoting Responsibility in the Preschool Classroom by Mary E. Maurer
War Impacts Preschool Students -- Current events and behavior changes from the Teachers.Net Early Childhood Chatboard
TEAPOT Word Game - What Every Teacher Should Know! by Catherine Schandl
How To Use Anchoring for Accelerated Learning by Stelios Perdios
An Art Historian on Children in the Museum by Erick Wilberding
China ESL, An Industry Run Amuck? by Niu Qiang & Martin Wolff
Editor's epicks for April by Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Egg Hatching - A PowerPoint Presentation by Mechele Ussery
Direction for Teachers of Creative Writing by Dan Lukiv
Tutorial - High Frequency Words (for students who struggle) from the Teachers.Net Chatboard
Vocabulary Activities by Lisa Indiana 2-3
April Columns
April Regular Features
April Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Bill Page...

Bill Page is a teacher. He has patrolled the halls, responded to the bells, struggled with the innovations and has had his share of lunchroom duty, playground duty and bus duty. Bill is currently in his forty-fifth year as a teacher, and through it all, he has learned, he has been successful, and he has had the opportunity to have a wide range of experiences that he now shares with others.

In various newspaper and journal articles about Bill, he has been called " A Teacher's Teacher," and America's Favorite Classroom Teacher" -- all because he speaks from his own unique experiences, his own common sense ideas, his own original teaching strategies. He is a regular contributor to Teachers.Net Gazette.

For 30 years Bill has presented district wide staff development programs and seminars throughout the U.S. and Canada. He has spoken to hundreds of thousands of teachers, and has taught fourteen different courses at eighty-six universities including twenty-six consecutive summers at the University of California at Riverside, San Diego, Irvine, Santa Barbara and Davis -- all while maintaining responsibility for junior high classes of "troublemakers" who were rejected by other teachers.

Bill Page was originator, program director, teacher trainer, and demonstration teacher for Project Enable, a six-year research program for middle level at-risk students, funded by the U.S. Office of Education through CEMREL, Peabody College and The Kennedy Child Study Center. He is eminently qualified with the experience, knowledge, expertise, materials, research and success to offer fresh, effective and proven, teaching strategies that assure increased achievement for all students, including those most at risk.

Bill does not present himself as an "expert." He says his college training was worthless. He does not have a masters degree, or graduate courses, and says he "was not contaminated by all that nonsense." Instead, he offers his testimonial as a classroom teacher who discovered his own educational philosophy and arrived at his own teaching concepts and his own successful techniques.

Some of Bill's unique and innovative experiences include these:

  • Bill has run "completely individualized classrooms" going from September to June without ever addressing the entire group. And, he has done it at elementary, middle, and high school levels.
  • He has gone for many years without giving an F to any student on anything ever and has helped other teachers to do the same.
  • He taught a civics class of 527 ninth graders in an auditorium for a year
  • Bill taught a completely individualized math class of 93 seventh graders.
  • He taught in a "wild" innovative school where they eliminated the halls, walls, bells, classes, grades, report cards, textbooks, schedules, and curriculum and used a teacher controlled, variable, flexible schedule that changed daily.
  • He taught in districts of 10,000 teachers, 300 teachers, and five districts in-between.
  • He graduated 8th grade from a one room country school with 27 kids in all 8 grades.
  • For three years Bill taught the lowest achievers in a large school as a federal research project based on the premise: "The problem isn't what's wrong with the kids, it's what we are doing to them." He then taught 16 teachers to replicate the program in eight other schools in two states.
  • For 26 straight years, Bill has taught teachers, in summer courses at the University of California, to individualize classes by shifting their roles from task masters to resources.
  • He set up an innovative elementary school on an ungraded, individualized basis.
  • He taught demonstration classes in a joint project for Peabody College and the Kennedy Child Study Center.

For additional information on Bill Page and his Teaching, visit
Bill invites comments and questions at his e-mail address;

Related Books

Not With Our Kids You Don't! Ten Strategies to Save Our Schools
by Juanita Doyon

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The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools
by Alfie Kohn

$11.00 from
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One Size Fits Few : The Folly of Educational Standards
by Susan Ohanian

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Teacher Feature...

Bureaucrat's Field of Dreams: If You Test Them They Will Learn -
A Rousing, Rip-Roaring,Raving Rant

by Bill Page

Nothing in education changed for the first 38 years of my teaching Career. I saw no reforms worthy of mention. Now, at long last, I have seen truly significant changes put into effect; but unquestionably and unfortunately, they are reforms for the worst. This time they've gone overboard---so far overboard that the only viable prospect for a reversal or retraction of these deleterious, disastrous changes is a full-fledged, unified, national, teacher-revolt…a crushing, malevolent backlash.

Teachers will tolerate incredible abuse of themselves; but, they will not tolerate their students being systematically, deliberately and inhumanely abused in the name of standards, research, assessment or the state "alphabet soup" of high-stakes tests, accountability, or anything else imaginable. Teachers live with their kids; they love their kids; they know their kids, and they protect their kids. So when they reach their tolerance threshold, they will revolt with the vindictive, vengeful, viciousness of a parent rescuing his/her violated child. Bewildered and beleaguered parents just now fully understanding the disaster will administer the coup de grace.

Teachers of the nation arise! Throw off your ranking, retesting and retention. You have nothing to lose but the senseless assault on the dignity and well-being of your students and the intrusion of nincompoops into your pedagogical expertise, your professional responsibility, and your crowded room full of kids, in your own little corner of the world.

Aggressively advanced by the President the United States, the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives and the U.S. Office of Education through their "No Child Left Behind Act," (January 8, 2002)---shamelessly touted by governors, state bureaucracies, local politicians, testing gurus, college academicians and researchers; and gleefully joined by "bottom-line" business interests, education corporation CEO's, publishers, authors, profiteers, and lay boards---these self-appointed standard-bearers have intruded themselves into my professional life, imposed naive, regressive laws on my classroom instruction, constrained my pedagogy with mandated, counterproductive requirements, assaulted my kids with one-size-fits-all curriculum, insulted me with senseless regulations, overwhelmed my building administrators, forced me into teaching-to-the-test, and burdened me with useless additional paperwork. They have funded a billion dollar testing industry using my teaching money, made school budget planning a ludicrous joke, usurped what precious little autonomy I had left as a professional teacher, and deprived me of making continuous, crucial, daily, teaching-learning decisions--and screwed the at-risk kids.

Initially, this distressing educational upheaval was perpetrated by the rising tide of mediocre reports convincing politicians that our nation was at risk, educational criticism becoming a national media sport, teachers being blamed for society's ills, schools becoming a heated topic of dinner-table discussions, and generalized school-bashing. Back in the good old days when teachers went into their classrooms, closed the door, taught the kids, and responded to the dime-a-dozen, budget-bursting, reform-of-the-day programs with the mantra, "This too shall pass," teachers had the freedom-to-teach, however surreptitiously that freedom might have been gained.

Teachers know their kids better than anyone else, they are the heart and soul of the teaching-learning process and they must be trusted to make the educational decisions, not because they can do it best, but because they are the only ones who can do it at all!

Comes the vote-grubbing, pontificating politicos, promoting perverse political power, pushing pseudo-research-driven strategies and assuaging an egotistical quest for so called excellence, world-class standards, and uniform student achievement; obligating teachers to become subservient, subjected, submissive and subjugated lackeys to the education industry's charlatans and profiteers. Teachers were suddenly scrutinized, pressurized, criticized. They were blamed, blasted and blasphemed then forced to perform classroom routines like circus dogs jumping through hoops - to the detriment of the kids all this purported to help.

From their bottom-rung status on the education ladder, students and teachers found themselves hapless victims of "exit poll testing," where the results of a few days of fill-in-the-bubble, one-dimensional, standardized, state-level, high-stakes testing began to be used to measure, evaluate, rank, fund, reward, penalize, compare, publicize, and label the 1,200 hours of the year's worth of teaching-learning progress. Cruelly misled by both the promise and threat of vouchers and transfers, teachers, teaching, kids and learning were knowingly sacrificed in a fool's game of "improvement by intimidation," "achievement-by-testing," "teach-to-the-test-omit-everything-else," and "retribution-by-labeling."

In the name of accountability, statistical analysts evaluated kids, ranked classes, categorized schools and designated countless innocent children, failures. Teachers were demoralized by newspapers publishing charts of meaningless test results, like box scores on the sports page, making students into data bank statistics for continuation of the travesty and hanging a "loser" label like an albatross around their necks.

Marilyn Brown, staff writer for the Tampa Tribune, wrote a February 5, 2003 article headlined, "Fla. Tries to Avoid Flunking 50,000 Third-Grade Pupils." I read it and wept. The 50,000 are not numbers or statistics. Each is a child living the only life s/he has, the only life each will ever have. Shall we punish a third grader for lack of study skills, knowledge, helpful homes, prior educational experiences and bureaucratic power run amuck? The least they could do is not demean children's lives by labeling them "flunkers" and making their failure public and permanent.

Kids retained will be a year behind their peers for the rest of their school life; which will probably not be for too long because statistically 50 percent of retainees will drop out at sixteen. These are eight year olds! They presented themselves last August to be taught. They showed up! An authoritarian school system assigned them desks, rooms, teachers, books, lessons, units, assignments, and controlled their lives virtually every minute of every day of their schooling including lunch, recess, bathroom and passing through the halls. Did they struggle with work they couldn't do? Were they all given the same classroom tests, at the same time, after the same exposure to the same material? Was everything offered to the class appropriate to every student? Now, tell me again, just what is it thousands flunked?

Regardless of arguments about the reliability, validity, meaning, cultural bias, ethnic unfairness, high/low standards, values, cost, unqualified, non-credentialed teachers, teacher quality, standardization and obvious limitations of testing; regardless of the expense, confusion, pressure, emotions, time considerations, failure ratio, teaching-to-the-test; and, regardless too, of conflicting research studies, frustrated, disgruntled teachers leaving the profession, bewildered parents, non-involved families, fairness issues, poverty problems, budget bursting costs, state funding shortfalls, and broken federal funding promises, the assault goes on unabated, with a crescendo increasing momentum, flaunting the tumultuous results.

These self-inflicted problems and any singular issue, from compulsory phonemic awareness drill, non-social promotion, retention and third grade boot camps, to tutoring, uniforms, vouchers, norm standards, criterion reference, remediation strategies, and all the children now left behind in the wake of the No Child Left Behind Act are sufficient to create decades of confusion, uncertainty, relentless haggling, and would require a fresh barrage of additional noxious laws, mandates, regulations and revised puffery, federal standards, continued insufficient funding, and arguments about national testing and certification requirements for teachers.

Each and every one of the nation's conscientious, dedicated, caring, two million professional teachers could effortlessly list a hundred and one arguments spelling out the specific evil, harm and horrors of the "Leave No Child Untested" bureaucratic nightmare, that crunches kids and flies in the face of effective teaching. As I considered my own lengthy list of indictments, I reluctantly discarded all but one summative argument, to wit: accountability.

As long as the "standardistos" want to intrude themselves in my classroom and impose their preordained lessons, required teaching techniques, prepared scripts, time limits, cut-off dates, set curriculum, and one-size-fits-all procedures, the standardistos must necessarily accept the responsibility for the results of the failures as well as the successes.

Accountability is only half a word; the other half being, "to what?" Accountability to what? Am I accountable for carrying out prescribed, pre-determined, pre-digested, pre-packaged, mandated, scripted, administrated, supervised, direct-instruction, teacher-proof lessons with required procedures, group assignments, copied worksheets and commercially prepared, dated materials? Or, am I accountable for knowing each of my students personally, learning their special individual needs and idiosyncratic styles, communicating with their parents, coordinating my efforts with colleagues, and administrators, assessing daily work and efforts, evaluating learning progress, diagnosing through classroom check-up tests, remediating deficits, differentiating assignments, adjusting techniques and strategies, utilizing available resources, and making appropriate, timely decisions for helping them learn and remember the material and information?

If my accountability is to carry out procedures prepared by educational outsiders, non-teachers, researchers, corporate employees, text and test writers, people who have not even visited a classroom, and my kids fail to learn, then the intruders need to change their procedures. It is they who should be failed. It is they who need extra help, time and tutoring.

Actually, if teaching were a matter of procedures determined independently of the learner by someone who has never taught, who has not been to school since his/her own successful graduation, who knows nothing about my kids, my school or my community, it would probably be better to hire high school kids as teachers for minimum wage. High School kids would likely "mind" and do what they are told, (however harmful and senseless), better than trained professionals would. Teachers, who have the kids' interest at heart would undoubtedly know or could find ways to circumvent the nonsense and put the kid's needs and well-being ahead of imposed standards policies and group procedures.

Kids are flexible and malleable, but a class full of kids contains a class full of individual differences that constantly require the curriculum and teaching strategies be adapted to them---not vice versa.

Teachers know their kids better than anyone else, they are the heart and soul of the teaching-learning process and they must be trusted to make the educational decisions, not because they can do it best, but because they are the only ones who can do it at all!

On the other hand, if my accountability is for increased student achievement, I need to make the decisions that will produce the desired results. I am willing and able to be accountable to teach within the school district’s parameters, policies, guidelines and supervision, but I must have the latitude to allow for individual differences, readiness, interest, motivation, ability, personality, feelings; and to consider prior knowledge, experiences, values, priorities, emotions, beliefs, needs and attitudes. I must be able to ask for variance, help and face-to-face negotiation for deviation for the good of the students. I must have the autonomy to make appropriate, timely decisions as a professional. I'll be pleased to be accountable for assuring student achievement and have responsibility for learning goals and objectives, if I have the commensurate decision making authority and responsibility.

As long as the "standardistos" want to intrude themselves in my classroom and impose their preordained lessons, required teaching techniques, prepared scripts, time limits, cut-off dates, set curriculum, and one-size-fits-all procedures, the standardistos must necessarily accept the responsibility for the results of the failures as well as the successes. I admonish them with a caveat in simple terms that simple pompous politicos can probably understand with the aid of an aide:

Kids have just one truly significant problem; they are human beings; they act, and to our consternation, they react as human beings. Teachers have the same problem---they too are human. They interact in the process of teaching and learning with human kids, not standardized, predictable, inanimate, cookie-cutter objects. Kids are flexible and malleable, but a class full of kids contains a class full of individual differences that constantly require the curriculum and teaching strategies be adapted to them---not vice versa.

Mandate what they will! Kids are each unique, complex, multifaceted individuals. They require competent effective teachers to make the moment-to-moment critical decisions about the who, what, when, where, why and how of kids' learning. Their mandates be damned! A philosopher once asked the French Legislature what I now ask of the educational law makers, "Why is human nature so contrary to our laws?"

I'm hankering for a good old-fashioned, vociferous, knock-down-drag-out, no-holds-barred backlash complete with chanting, placard-waving, button-wearing, bumper-stickering, banner carrying protest a foot-stomping, screaming, shin-kicking, podium-pounding, jam-packed, over-crowded, emotional educational shouting match with the overused "alignment" word now referring to coalitions of kids, teachers, parents and community members. I’d hankering to see petitions, "testing opt-out forms," media blitzing, boycotting…culminating with an ear piercing, in-unison, national scream of, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

JOIN ME! I'd be delighted to hear from you.

With joy in sharing, Bill Page
Teacher, parent, realist, child advocate and a wannabe writer, who calls 'em as he sees 'em.

Comments, questions:

Permission hereby granted for reproduction and distribution of this emotional rant - in its entirety including credit and note, please.

Bill Page, 222 Wheeler Ave, Nashville, TN 37211 Phone 615 833 1691

A note from Bill Page

A national organization fighting for educational justice is led by a dedicated group of parents, teachers and authors. Contact them for information:

Susan Ohanian has written numerous books. (My own favorite is One Size Fits Few.) A teacher, a writer, a fighter!
Check out for some enlightenment.

Juanita Doyon's brand new book, Not With Our Kids You Don't! offers, "Ten Strategies To Save Our Schools." She also offers buttons to wear to voice indignation about high stakes testing and NCLB insanity, and also to meet people. For buttons and books, email Juanita:

Alphie Kohn's criticism of the high stakes testing and his efforts for the opposition are well known and have been around for a while:
and visit

By Bill Page, teacher, parent, and realist.

Visit Bill Page's Web Site: for articles that can be downloaded free. Bill enjoys answering questions by e-mail:

Bill Page is available as a staff development program leader and he has audio and video tapes available for teachers, administrators, and parents:
For information or brochures, check his web site or call toll free: 1-888-471-4385

Gazette Articles by Bill Page:

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