In Red Deer Public School District, we talk a lot about differentiated instruction and how important it is for the teacher to know their children so that they may tailor instruction to the kids needs; however, in Red Deer, we are not applying that same pedagogy to our assessment practices. Rather, we are creating more and more command and standardized assessments that are being made by people other than the classroom teacher.
Last night at the Red Deer Public School Board Trustee open forum, a small number of concerned citizens showed up to listen to each candidate. Almost every single candidate voiced their sincere concern for local governance. Time and time again, trustees echoed the sentiment that decisions must be kept locally.
But Trustees need to understand that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. It is just as wrong for the Provincial Government to rob local School Districts of their local autonomy as it is for the School Districts to rob local autonomy from the schools. (To take this a step further: it is just as wrong for the principal to rob local autonomy from his or her teachers as it is for a teacher to rob local autonomy from their students)
If it is irresponsible to expect a student in Grande Prairie (city in northern Alberta) to be taught in the exact same manner as a student in Lethbridge (city in southern Alberta), then we have to understand that it is assessment malpractice to expect a student at Normandeau (a school in northern Red Deer) to be assessed in the exact same manner as the student at Westpark (a school in southern Red Deer).
Remember that the heart of local autonomy is with the child, and the best decisions for the child are made by the child in collaboration with a safe and caring adult who actually spends time with the child.