Teaching to the Test or Testing the Teachers

The school year has just started and you are already weary of the upcoming testing. At the very first faculty meeting of the year, the administrators reminded the staff that testing across all testing seasons should look the same. Even when students receive an alternate location for testing because of special circumstances, these changes should not disrupt or discontinue services provided to other students.

You were reminded that all students can have a brief break, especially younger students, and you could not help but think under your breath that you, as well, need a break from the constant stress of making sure that your students are prepared to perform.

You know your building testing expert, and have been assured that when it comes to the logistics of the testing, an administrative intern, librarian, tech initiator, assessment principal, and others will be available to help, but that fact does little to eliminate the stress that comes along with the high stakes testing that has become such an important part of the school year.
Vision and Hearing Screenings Contribute to Student Success

Even when families do not have vision insurance, schools will conduct vision and hearing screenings at the beginning of the year. Not just to prepare children for the tests that are such an important part of the funding that schools receive, but to make sure that every child is ready to learn, vision and health screenings provide some of the best indicators about how a child will perform in the classroom.
As some current politicians look for universal healthcare as an option for their platforms, teachers across the country could surely tell stories of the many times when students from families that have vision insurance and dental insurance are more likely to succeed. If you follow the news at all, you certainly know that insurance access is one of the top challenges to business owners. In fact, according to a report by the National Association of Small Businesses, the top three challenges of running a business include economic uncertainty and a decline in customer spending, in addition to the cost of health insurance benefits. When companies cannot afford to provide basic health insurance, the option for dental and vision insurance is even more limited. Unfortunately, without access to these benefits, especially vision insurance, the children of these employees may not enter the school year ready to learn.

Group health insurance company options provide an advantage to some companies, but it is evident that there are still too many families in the country who do not have the access they need to live their best lives.
Predictors of success are sometimes easy to discover, but the solutions are often more fleeting. Finding a way to make sure that every child has the same access to success in the classroom, in fact, is a very difficult challenge. Even before the latest testing mandates have been put in place, educators have long known that there are many children who simply do not have the resource that they need to succeed. As educators and politicians alike work together they understand that there has to be a way to limit the amount of money that insurance companies collect. In fact, of the net insurance premiums paid in 2017, 52% of them went to life or health insurance companies. Finding a way to make sure that some of the other 48% makes its way into educational benefits is a definite step in the right direction.

It should be no surprise that a number of entities in the country are trying to come together to find the solutions that will help a higher percentage of students succeed. From students who are arriving to school healthy and ready to learn to making sure that teachers are well trained in both educational theory and subject content, the factors that contribute to educational success are wide ranging. When community members jump in and offer services like vision testing and glasses to students in poverty, some students find the jump start that they need to make sure that this year’s school year is different. Everyone benefits when all children arrive at the school room door ready to learn. Vision, hearing, and dental screenings are initial steps in making this possible.

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