Shaming Students One Wall at a Time

The losers in school know who they are at a young age – usually by kindergarten or first grade. And losers are easy to pick out, because their reading progress, or lack there of, is usually displayed on a bulletin board somewhere in the school for everyone to see.

I’ve had numerous opportunities to visit schools, and too often I see cringe-worthy data walls being used to “motivate” students.

One such day, an enthusiastic teacher was walking me around her school, excited to show me the students’ progress and growth. We stepped into a dark, first grade classroom, and she flipped on the lights. Eight round tables were positioned in the room and on the tables were baskets with neatly arranged bottles of glue, color pencils, sticky notes and other supplies. Around the tables were miniature chairs. I love seeing those tiny chairs; they just make me smile.

My smile faded as I looked to my left and saw a huge bulletin board that said, Ribbit Reading Progress. On this bulletin board were 15 or so frogs with five segments. Some frogs were colored in a mosaic pattern– the head was green, the right arm was purple, left arm was green, right leg was purple, left leg was orange. I saw two or three frogs where the entire body, head and legs were green. Two frogs were completely orange. I knew right away, the orange frogs were the losers.

Even though I knew the answer, I asked, “What’s with the frogs?”

Proudly she said, “It shows their reading progress. When a student can read a passage fluently in a minute, they color part of the frog in. Then we post the frog on the board so the kids can see their progress. If they improve, they get to go to the treasure box in the front office on Friday.”

I took a breath and said, “Let me guess, the green frogs are the winners and the orange frogs are the losers

“Well, I wouldn’t say losers,” she said defensively. “They just need more time and more remediation. And we use orange not red, because we feel red is a little too abrasive. We don’t want to break anyone’s spirit.”

I smirked and said, “Don’t you think the owners of the orange frogs feel like losers when they look at this wall?”

She gave me a sideways glance and said, “I suppose, but having this competition in the classroom is an incentive for students to do well on their reading. We have noticed substantial gains in reading scores since implementing Ribbit Reading Progress. And we don’t use their names, just their student numbers.”

Make no mistake, no one needs names to identify the losers.  They all know.

I could see she wasn’t trying to hurt anyone and she was proud of this competition so I ended my questions. I was a guest in her school and didn’t want to insult her by saying, “Lady, your Ribbit Reading Progress is a problem and you should take down that wall immediately.”

I tell my students, who are future teachers in the college of education, this story in hopes they will never use this practice in their own classrooms. It never fails; every semester a few of my undergrads raise their hands to tell me their own shame story about being a loser, their failure displayed on an orange frog or red bear or short line on a giant bulletin board for the whole school to see.

It doesn’t take a PhD in early learning to know data walls and reading competitions are bad because they make winners and losers out of students. Yet, if you Google making reading a competition, you’ll find an infinite amount of products, technology and organizations dedicated to reading battles.

And losers are hot commodities. Losers make companies lots and lots of money.

Reading competitions have become a staple in American classrooms. I remember Book it!, a competition-based reading program in the 80’s where Pizza Hut gave out free pizza parties to the best readers. Since then there have been many competitive reading programs: 100 Book Club, Accelerator Reader, Just Read!, and Empower 3000.

These competitive programs cost districts millions of dollars and lots and lots of time. Districts buy these programs even though the research shows, time and time again, making reading a competition has negative effects on student learning:

  • A study conducted to examine the effects of Accelerated Reader (AR), a popular reading competition program, found AR programs with elementary school students do not result in a higher level of reading among those students when they reach middle school. (Pavonetti, Brimmer & Cipielewski, 2002).
  • Making reading a competition can have lasting negative effects on how a student sees him or herself as a reader. “The motivational outcomes of literacy tasks influence how students interpret their roles in learning to read. Those interpretations can affect their desire to persist and to remain involved in literacy” (Turner & Paris, 1995, p. 671).
  • Studies have shown that feelings of self-worth become dependent on external sources of evaluation as a result of competition. Children succeed in spite of competition, not because of it (Kohn, 2009).

Losing is actually really important in learning, because vulnerability and failure is where a lot of important discovery happens. However, students should have the opportunity to feel vulnerable and be a loser on their own terms and not have their failures displayed on a wall in the school.

The solution is simple; tear down the walls. Stop mandating shame in schools. Applaud winners and shame losers at sporting events. That kind of practice doesn’t belong in the learning environment.




136 Responses

  1. Eric

    Our students are going to know their level by which reading group they’re in or by how they stack up on STMath or which math group they are in. I would never want to take away from a students feeling of self-confidence, but how can we help to push them to achieve more and create a sense of urgency for them.
    I teach 5th grade and have 9 students in my class who started the year reading on a 2nd grade level. I’m not going to post each child’s level on the wall, but we have to have creative ways help students strive to be better and set goals.

    • StandingProud

      If shaming students is the best that your district can come up with, parents need to start homeschooling more.

      • Liberal Nonsense

        “Every kids’ a winner.”

        Keep teaching that mentality to your kids and we’ll be in a….oh wait, people like you have already screwed everything up.

      • Terry

        I think that it’s an sad statement on our whole educational system that the teachers think that their students don’t know exactly where they are among their peers. The only people fooled by the “everybody’s a winner” attitude are some of the parents.

        We would not want to encourage our best students for working hard if it made some of the students who don’t work so hard feel bad, would we?

      • strugglingchild

        You’re assuming Terry that those that are not doing as well aren’t trying. Our 5th grade daughters is home around 5 and we work on homework and reading most nights until 8:30. She also does additional work at school and Boys and Girls club. She works her tail off to not be on the struggling list. So excuse me if my daughter feels bad.

      • Kristen

        That’s just what I did and when he’s old enough I can’t wait to send him to a hands on charter school and take money from the public school. It’s horrid!!

      • Alan

        As a college-level educator with 20 years experience I would say the problem is both in the “shame” and in this article’s criticism of it.
        Students are individuals. Some need shame to be motivated, some cannot function when they feel shame about their progress.
        The trick is identifying individual motivators and implementing them on a personal basis.
        not nearly as difficult as it sounds. May cause a course to run slowly the first couple of weeks, but everything goes MUCH faster thereafter.

      • Concerned in Ohio

        Could it be that 9 of your students who read at 2nd grade level have fallen through the cracks and have an undiagnosed learning difference? Could it be that 9 of your students who read at 2nd grade level would love to be able to read at their grade level like every one else, not be singled out as different, not be made fun of or snickered at during class? Could it be they aren’t “lazy”, which you are implying? (Your comments “help to push them to achieve more and create a sense of urgency for them.” and “help students strive to be better and set goals”) It’s not the kids letting themselves or YOU down, it’s YOU and the school system letting THEM down. Would you tell a deaf child to just try harder and they could hear? Or, would you work with those students within their abilities, based on their differences, and never compare them to or force them to compete against the “normal” students in your class?

        My son is 17. He is severely dyslexic. He will never read as fast as others. He will never comprehend the majority of what he reads on the first go-round. What he does do, though, is read at his own pace and reread until he understands what is being told to him by the author. He has an enormous vocabulary and a gift for public speaking and teaching others. He has goals. He has plans. He betters himself daily. He loves to learn when allowed to do it in his way at his pace. To say that a child like mine needs you and other teachers like you to get them off their butts and “instill urgency” and “set goals” is insulting to those kids.

        My son and others like mine don’t need you to push (shame) them, or “instill” anything in them. What you are instilling in them is feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, and a deep seated hatred of all things learning related. What my child and others like mine need from teachers is compassion, understanding, acceptance of what they can do and how they do it – even if it’s not like all the other kids. This mentality that these not-so-cookie-cutter students are lazy or don’t have goals, or aren’t trying is why a lot of parents, myself included, have chosen to homeschool.

      • Saja

        Homeschooling is exactly what I chose. I only wish I had done it sooner with my daughter who struggled with anxiety over this type of nonsense. Ironically, she was quite proud of achieving Top Reader status for AR reading competition. Many of the books “read” were audio and/or read alouds with me. I’ll never regret spending time reading her all of Alcott, Montgomery’s Green Gables series, C.S. Lewis’ series, and so many more. But I also will never regret homeschooling either of my kids. They are brighter spirits for having had less time in a classroom. This is, by the way, from a public school teacher. I reformed the way I looked at education.

    • Hannah

      I’ve never understood this shaming thing. All it does is create additional conflict where there need not be any. I’m also confused by the emphasis on fluency as measured in correct words per minute, frankly. I teach 3rd grade. I have a few students with great decoding skills and great comprehension that consistently score at well below grade level because, for reasons having nothing to do with their reading skills, they read slower than the average kid. I’m worried that making an issue of their reading speed is going to create a problem where there is none. They can read and understand what they read. But their skill level is judged by how fast they do it. My job is make them do it faster. I’m worried that they will learn that fast is more important that well, and that saying the words is more important than understanding them.
      But as far as encouragement, perhaps a better way to do it would be to post (if you *must* post something) ROI, rather than achievement scores. That’s what should be celebrated anyway. Not where they are at, but how far they’ve come since they started. I have data posted on my walls, but it’s behavior data. Times they have interrupted the class by talking over the teacher or getting too loud. Number of students not returning their homework. Stuff that they are all able to compete on an even footing on. Whole class data. They know where they fall on that line, but it’s not labeled with their name on it.

      • Alison

        I was a painfully shy and self-conscious student with undiagnosed ADD (no one really knew that was a “thing” 30+ years ago). Homework was such a struggle for me. First, I had to remember that I even had homework. Then I had to find the incredible willpower to attempt it, as it usually took me hours to complete the same amount of work it would take an average student 30 minutes to do. I couldn’t focus and my mind would be everywhere execpt on my work.

        My parents and teachers were so frustrated with me. As a natural “pleaser” I felt like such a disappointment. In 4th grade, the negative “motivator” was to write the initials on the board of students who hadn’t completed their homework. Mine were up there almost every day, and I remember the humiliation and resignation clearly. I just figured that I was inferior. Many of my classmates believed I was mentally challenged or delayed, and I was too quiet to speak up to prove them wrong.

        I never became much of a student until graduate school, when (ironically) I studied to become an elementary school teacher. Becoming a teacher was my dream and I was so engaged in what I was learning that I graduated with a 3. 89.

        Yet, once in the classroom, I employeed the the same familiar behavior techniques that had been used with me: card systems, clip systems, color systems. I can’t say that they were effective and I hated the way they made my students feel when they didn’t achieve the desired behsvior goal. They were easy for record-keeping purposes (recording colors at the end of the day) but they didn’t give the students or parents any kind of relevant feed-back. Students often couldn’t even remember why they had “moved their clips.”

        I eventually dropped the systems and just used private conversations, notes/calls with parents, private reward systems (earning more time on the computer, being my “helper”, whatever the student viewed as currency). There is no easy solution, but humiliation definitely is not the answer.

      • Rebecca

        ^Behavior shaming is just as detrimental as academic shaming.
        I’m sure you’ll argue that behavioral success is more of a choice than academic success… but is it??
        Heredity, personality, culture, socioeconomic status, hidden learning disabilities (especially 2e), overexcitabilities, etc. all play heavily on classroom behavior.
        A shame-free classroom includes all shaming.

      • Katie

        I was one of those kids you talk about. For the life of me I could not read fast nor correctly out loud. I took twice as long reading a book as any other kid did, but I loved reading. My comprehension was through the roof and I was and am still able to decode, use context clues, and figure out the word and it’s meaning on my own. But if I was ever timed, I failed every time. I remember when I was in 4th grade, I wanted to read a book that was above my level by 2 grade points (it was a 5.4 and I was a 3.4 or 3.5). I had to get permission to check the book out from the library, which I thought was stupid at the time. However, I went to my teacher and she understood that while I was a slow reader and therefore was classified as a lower number, I could understand easily and she gave me permission. It was the best day of my life and that book is now and always will be my favorite. Simply by my teacher knowing what kind of a student I was made me feel better about my skills as a reader. But that’s another topic for another day.
        I loved the AR program in my high school. It was voluntary, and grade based. So all 9th graders competed with each other, all 10th, etc. I read constantly, and even got 2nd place a few times. The periods were semester based. The great thing about that was it was set aside from our required reading for classes. We could read books and take the tests, but it was on our own. Different teachers did things different, but the AR program competition itself was voluntary. And no one made a big deal out of it. If someone won, they were handed the prize or award by their Lit teacher during passing period. The student could choose to brag or not, but in high school no one wants to brag that they read 200 AR points worth of books, haha.

      • MaryAnn

        But even behavior data isn’t something they ALL can compete fairly in. My guess or at least my hope from the kind tone of your comment is that you do make adjustments on those charts for children with adhd or other circumstances that make self control and impulsivity a greater challenge. As a parent of very hard working daughter with adhd, I hope so. Behavior charts on the wall are not helpful. Private charts are. (FYI, when I was in school, I would have easily been at the top of both types of charts, with little or no effort. I have learned a lot since then, from my own children and from others as well. The charts are only fun for those at the top. And they don’t need them.)

      • Suzanne Arena

        As a parent of a profoundly dyslexic child I recall going to the 1st and 2nd grade rooms and seeing the chart and how many books they have read. I recall seeing my child always at the bottom and thinking, gosh, do they really have to use this for a daily visual vs. tickets or something. I never said anything though.

        I really appreciated your comments Hannah, so on point. I found out at 44 that my son got his dyslexia from me, and that I too read incredibly slow and comprehension is weak (unless I read upside down, then I get 2x as much understanding – sounds strange but true). I do believe that all the children know who is slow, medium and advanced by the group colors they are arranged in in class. When one learns that 1in5 are dyslexic and the spectrum is so prevalent but our educators are not aware of the signs or symptoms, or remediation….then these poor kids are shamed more when the daily try to eard thad wich yu canit undrsnd. This article should be a BIG painful eyeopener to Teachers to PLEASE not use this harmful Brag Board when you can use tickets or something children can build up to. If programs like Learning Ally (audio books online) for school children were utilized more, children would be reading more fluidly and given opportunities to read more often.

    • Jane

      How about having a private conversation with the students? Do you really think data walls motivate students?

      • Steve

        I have personal conversations with my students daily. I don’t have any shaming techniques in my room. I see very little improvement from the lower-achieving students. They simply don’t care when they get to high school or they feel very entitled. The kids who want to achieve will achieve. It may not be through letter grades and GPA’s, but other ways.

        For example, I have students who are struggling academically in my class, thought I meet with them twice a week every week to help them out. But, they are doing awesome in extra-curriculars, other classes and other student organizations. I have some students who are failing, will probably fail, and will be a GREAT mechanic someday.

        Just trying to point out, conversations may not work either. Do I agree with shaming? No. Do I agree with calling a spade a spade? Yes.

    • Alecta

      Eric: how about spending a little time with each child. Find out what they are passionately interested in, or curious about. Then help them find books that will be a bit of a challenge to read (but not too much) that is about their passion. If the material isn’t interesting or compelling, a kid isn’t going to want to read. If there is information they want, the kid will do what is required to get it.
      When I was about 4, my mom was reading The Hobbit every spare minute. The cover art was gorgeous, and her description of the story appealed to me. So I read it. Someone told me it was too hard for me, dismissively. Which made me even more determined to power through the difficult language (Tolkien isn’t difficult, unless you’re from the US Midwest, and 4 years old). Had I been faced with Dickens early on, I would never have wanted to read.
      Comic books, graphic novels, adventures. Whatever they want to know about it what they’ll read. Celebrate achievement quietly. Never, ever, point out or isolate an underachiever. Once they have that label, it’s forever in the eyes of their peers, and they will live down to it.

      • Karen

        Data walls are for staff use only in a private area not accessible to students or the public, in my opinion. What must parents think when they see those walls, never mind the students.

      • Harolyn

        As a retired teacher, parent & grandparent, I agree with what you’ve said. However, I resent your statement about people in the Midwestern US not being able to understand Tolkien’s work. Shame on you. I live in Oklahoma. I started college after I graduated from high school fifteen years earlier. I also had three children & drove 2 hours daily to get to my college classes. I graduated with honors, went on to be a successful teacher, & retired when my twin granddaughters were born so I could take care of them while their mother worked. The twins are now in third grade. I have volunteered two days a week in their classes ever since they started school. I DO NOT consider myself to be an ignorant person, and I am proud to be from the Mid-western state of Oklahoma.

      • Fatalsnarkattack

        Um, Harolyn, I agree with your sentiment, but note that Alecta wrote “from the Midwest, AND four.” (Emphasis mine.). Quite frankly, whatever region could fit. My take is that she was referring to herself, not generalizing, and even if not was not intending to insult an entire region’s pre-school quality. Peace.

    • Karen

      Eric, I can see that you genuinely care, because you took the time to read this article and you took the time to comment to learn more. That is much more than most will do. Thank you! But the urgency is not to light a fire under the kids to create a sense of urgency. If you teach 5th grade and you are getting kids that are reading at a 2nd grade level. Then the urgency needs to be in how your school/district identifies children with dyslexia or reading issues. Believe it or not, a child can be diagnosed in pre-school with dyslexia. But most teachers and schools either don’t believe in it, or believe it is over diagnosed. But science, research, and MRI’s say otherwise. I encourage you to start by changing your school, the teachers, and the administration with urgency. If they are not caught at a young age, if they are not taught to read in a evidence based way that dyslexics (and non-dyslexics) can learn to read, then these kids will continue to be passed forward and through the system unable to not only read, but unable to learn in most of their subjects. I have an 18 yr. old that is about to graduate that is very intelligent, but has been ignored by the system. I also have a 7 yr. old who was diagnosed at age 5 with Auditory Processing Disorder which can precede or is co-morbid with dyslexia. In 1 1/2 years time because she got help EARLY, she has made some amazing progress. The key is Early recognition, evidence based programming, demanding urgency within your staff/admin., and most important of all is to not put urgency on a child who has been left behind and not acknowledged in a system that is not their fault. This will only exacerbate the childs self-esteem issues. If you want to help these children not fall through the cracks, then stand up for getting them the help in the right programs so that they can learn how they are able to learn. Which is different than the 80% of the rest of the students. Let them know they are smart despite their reading difficulties, and that you are there to help them figure out what will work for them. Your support and understanding and continued education on this issue is what they need the most. Good luck!

      • KP

        As a Title I reading teacher for 5 years where the entire school read 2-5 years below grade, we DID keep track of students PROGRESS; not have fast they read, but how much they improved. And every child in those small groups celebrated when any child made progress. They all knew who was where. Posting, with student numbers, was recognition for every child, and no child felt shamed because they didn’t progress as fast as someone else. To automatically assume that every “orange” from was shamed is jumping to a false conclusion. How the teacher, and the students, responded to each child’s progress is far more important. So much so that children helped each other! That negates any shame, and put ownership of the classroom back into the hands of empowered children.

    • Angie

      I am afraid you are looking at this all wrong If you have students starting 5 th grade on a second grade level. Most of These kids do not lack motivation, they have a learning disability. 1 in 5 kids have dyslexia, yes 20 percent of the population. Instead of motivating them with contests try different teaching methods. Google Sally Shaywitz, Yale Center for Dyslexia. Orton gillingham techniques. Have these kids read age appropriate books with a cd or MP3 of the text. It helps tremendously. It trains the brain, they see hear, and can touch the word with their finger. These kids gain a tremendous amount of confidence just being able to read what their peers are reading, not “baby” books. Please research Dyslexia, you and your students will be better for it.

      • Jo

        ANGIE :) where were you 8 years ago :) I need a person like you backing my son when I teachers telling me “he’s just a boy and boys learn slower” I had to learn the had way :(

    • Jo

      I have 3 boys. 10, who is above average, 12, who is below and a 15, who reads at the age of a 6 year old cause his dyslexia is so bad…. every class at his primary school had these sort of signs in them and he always thought “I’m Dumb” because he saw his name it wasn’t until he was diagnosed and find that he just learns differently, doesn’t mean that you are slower than the rest, just that you may have amazing talents with other subjects. After he and his brother went into classes where their names weren’t one the board they have tried at hell of alot more cause now they aren’t being separated.

    • Nello

      My primary school had nature of competition.I was amang the best first students.Students who didn’t perform well were left behind.During my fourth year we got a teacher who encouraged team work and pride of school rather than individual performance.We could help each other,work as team to make school win.In school student should be encouraged to build team work and responsibilities

    • Rufus

      “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
      Or, “That’s just stinkin’ thinkin!”
      Or “Trace it, face it, and erase it.”

    • Laura

      It has virtually nothing to do with motivation. If you are not using an evidence-based teaching approach for these students reading at second grade level in the fifth grade, they are not able to reach goals.

      Until teachers acknowledge learning disabilities, and take the responsibility for appropriate teaching methods, this kids will continue to be promoted without grade-level skills.

    • Fe

      I am not a teacher, but I have a love of reading. My school district has, through mandatory 100-150 reading minutes per week, made my children learn to dislike reading and think of it as a chore, as homework, boring’, etc. I don’t remember having to read a required amount of minutes per week. My kids’ Lexile scores are 2 grade levels above their grades but they will not read anything unless they have to. What a shame,

    • Youruinedamerica

      Leave it to a bunch of idiots to decide that encouraging kids to do well, and rewarding them when they do….Is simply punishment for those who do not do as well. Guess what, they should try harder then. My god, people like you all ruined america with your no one should be rewarded philosophy.

    • Denise

      Knowing their own personal level & posting everyone’s levels, for all to see is completely different!

    • Katrina

      I think the creative method is a program that helps kids build the skills they need to be readers as well as understand the importance of accommodations for those who are dealing with a learning disability (identified or not). “Striving to be better” implies they have the ability to read at a 5th grade level. It’s not always about motivation.

    • Sandy Stenoff

      Eric – I sense the urgency in your comment. I am not a teacher. However, I am a very involved parent, and I would suggest that a public shaming wall is the least creative strategy that a teacher could implement to motivate or help children who are struggling with reading.

      I’d like to share this with you, and hope that you will check it out. I’ve seen it work on struggling readers. It made an avid reader of my own child, a most reluctant reader. Numerous highly respected teachers have also attested to the great success and validity of Nancie Atwell’s work. She is an acclaimed educator. There is no profit to be made off of workbooks or software or licenses. Just tried and true methods that work beautifully.

    • Sherryl

      Creative!!! I don’t think so. Children have a hard enough time dealing with school work. Their self esteem is more important than a teacher using this kind of trash. It’s all in the teaching and not just your approach but those that have gone before.

    • Sherryl

      Hi Eric,

      I wrote a post addressing your dilemma. Unfortunately I used words that were inappropriate and rather harsh-as in the word trash. I want to apologise for my harshness and the use of an inappropriate word.

    • Lisa

      Eric: those students’ goals are to survive the day at school without being shamed or embarrassed by some teacher who asks them to read in front of the class, or hands them a math sheet with story problems on it that they can’t read, so they can’t do the math. Your students who are reading at a 2nd grade level do not have a problem with trying harder or motivation. What they need is to be evaluated for dyslexia and offered an orton-gillingham based curriculum. Then they need to be taken through it, in small groups, by someone who has time to commit.

    • jeanne

      Eric, here’s a way- give the students the tools they need. If 9 of your students read on a 2nd grade level, there’s more than “the need to strive” going on. Your district should be providing those students remediation. Whether its an RTI protocol, Reading Recovery, Orton-Gillingham, etc. those students should be taught strategies to improve their reading. Your response is the #1 thing wrong with education in the U.S. today- schools and educators who complain about problems but don’t suggest a single solution to combat the issues.

  2. Jenn

    What I think so many people fa to understand or remember is that not everyone is going to achieve that high level no matter how hard they try. Some students are not developmentally ready, others have learning disabilities, plus factors in the home. To make a kid think that they might not be working hard enough or their best isn’t good enough is a failure. For some people reading (or math, or science, or art…) will not come easily or naturally. Bottom line – everyone cannot be advanced in all things. Everyone might not even be on grade level in all things. Part of education is identifying strengths and weaknesses and pointing students towards the occupations or careers (or college or trade) that best meets their needs and talents. College is not for everyone. I could never be a plumber. I’m not better because I have a college degree. I respect every profession. We need to stop judging in these ways.

    • Tracy Bowen

      I’m sorry, but when you start making excuses for why children can’t achieve even the basics, you are doing those children a disservice. Yes, children learn differently, however they should be reaching certain benchmarks by certain grade levels. If they cannot meet those standards, they need to know it and be working on ways to reach those goals. “Feel-Good” teaching is not helping any child, it just excuses a lack of performance. Not every child can be the best. If you flatten out the requirements for excellence, no child will ever attempt to achieve it.

      • Eric

        This isn’t ‘feel good teaching’, it’s simple human development. The reality is that there are distinct cognitive and biological developmental stages, and progressing from one stage to the next ‘unlocks’ the ability to learn new types of things. Until a student reaches the necessary level, no amount of instruction or hard work will enable that student to learn the related content or concepts. This is no one’s ‘fault’, nor is it making excuses.

      • Karen

        Tracy, you should educate yourself about dyslexia, and all of it’s struggles within the neurology of the brain, and all of it’s gifts within the brain. But specifically how it works within our educational system that is not set up to educate these types of students. When you can adequately speak about how the working memory, auditory processing, can recite maybe 37 different signs and symptoms of dyslexia, and which programs are for teaching a dyslexic and how it can drastically change their lives, then you should comment. But not a moment before you educate yourself.

    • Karen

      Jenn, I completely disagree. Everyone is capable of going to college. Maybe not everyone wants to go, but give them the appropriate primary, and secondary education to everyone, then post-secondary wouldn’t be limited to those that “succeed” in academics. My 18 year old spoke early at 9 months. Called all of the dinosaurs by their scientific names by 18 mos. By 2nd grade, he was told he doesn’t test well. 4th grade he was given a speech IEP for his language processing issues that we now know is really called dyslexia. His sophomore year, outside of school, he was formally diagnosed. It’s now his senior year and he doesn’t want to go to college because he has been unsupported academically in any way appropriate for a dyslexic. Because the school won’t even acknowledge it or use the d-word. He has been left behind. My 5 year old who’s dyslexia was much more severe than my sons’, was given an IEP for her diagnosed Auditory Processing disorder that can accompany dyslexia. In a year and a half time, she has made more progress because she was acknowledged early and helped early on. Given the continued support, she will go much further than my son will in school because she is being given a more appropriate education than my son ever received. He is not stupid. He has just learned to hate academics. Because of things like being deducted points for not solving math on paper. His gift of solving high level math in his head, like Trig or Pre-Calc, but because of dysgraphia and/or dyscalculia, he has learned to hate his gift. He has learned to hate school because he can’t learn like they teach. He can’t process the left brain world because he has a right brained mind. Should he be told to become a plumber and told that college is not for everyone. The top heart surgeon in the country at Cleveland Clinic is dyslexic and was turned by maybe about 10 colleges because of his scores. Only one school let him in…Virginia. Imagine had he believed that he was in the so-called “group” that wasn’t meant for college.

      • Lisa

        There are many careers that don’t require a college education. My son’s are on the autism spectrum and while I am very hopeful they will want to go to college, my goal is to get them to be able to support themselves. We are currently starting to teach them computer programming (they are 10) in the hope that should they decide college isn’t where they need to be they have an employable skill. Plus, they love playing games so programming them is a huge interest.

      • Tina

        Your son can go to college if he wants. He just needs to find on e that 19supports kids with dyslexia. The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh is one that does have a dyslexia support center. My sister works there and has been working with college kids, getting them tutors or whatever help they feel might work for them to help them learn the materials.
        As for kids on the autism spectrum going to college, my oldest is 19 and has Aspergers. He attends a small private college that had the program he was interested in. He is over half way through his first year there and doing alright. Again, there are colleges that are supportive of students with disabilities. You have to do your research and ask a lot of questions but if you want a higher education then don’t give up until you find a school that will support you(r child) and your plans and dreams!

    • Rebecca

      How would you feel if you were the kid who didn’t earn your team enough points? Then not only do you have the shame of not performing high enough, you also have earned the ire of fellow classmates for “bringing down the team.” Intellectual competitions in the classroom are not fair and are detrimental to some portion of the student population in just about any form you can make them. Private data folders, student conferences, goal setting, frequent follow up and coaching is the way to challenge each student respectfully, privately, and developmentally appropriately.

  3. Michael Dunlea

    I fought this idea when my district began to mandate it. Teachers may know something is wrong or questionable but they often lack the control to prevent these policies from happening. Learning is an individual journey and should not be turned into a race.

    • David

      Michael is absolutely right — and data walls, regardless of how “cute,” can be fought by invoking FERPA, the Federal Privacy law for students. I did this on behalf of my high school students in Chicago despite being told by my principal and a network chief (administrator) that no law was being violated by posting student id numbers on the chart. After some googling and a long distance phone call to a lawyer at the US Department of Education I was able to push back against wall charts for math and English teachers in my school. We have to fight for our students, nobody else does.

      • Heather

        David, According to my district they claim it is NOT against this law because we are using student number not names. Can you share further information on how you proved this to still be a violation?

      • Tracy Bowen

        Way to diminish the the hard work and excellence that the achieving students displayed! You should be so proud,

    • Meg

      Absolutely right! As a retired elementary teacher of 37 years, I can say this posting of scores comes from “above”. Teachers hate it! We are told to post the weekly reading test scores in the hallway next to our classroom doors and use the “un-named frogs” (Dibels test) and the monthly reading & math scores (STAR test) right inside the classroom door, where all who entered could see it. In our state, it’s ALL about the tests. Teachers hate it.

      • Gina

        WOW. I don’t know if I could work there! So sorry that this is what you’re dealing with! In my school division (I’m in Canada), we have very few directives from above as to what we’re doing in our classroom. Can you ask them to show you research to support what they want you to do? (And maybe show them some research to show that it’s not helpful)?

  4. David

    Heather, I spoke with Bernie Cieplak, an official with the Department of Education (tel: 202-708-9979). I described what our wall charts looked like and how students were identified – these were high school students, so we were using student id numbers. I did this in November 2012. Hopefully he still works for the DOE and can help you. Good luck!

  5. Shawn

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on “honors” reading classes in grades 3, 4, and 5?

    • Abby

      As a teacher of gifted and talented students, the research supports grouping these students together for more accelerated learning. If several kids in third grade can read at a high school level but are put in reading groups where they are stuck with the district mandated textbook (which, over time, has become LESS challenging at each grade level), they will completely zone out. At the worst, they will begin to underachieve and/or become behavior problems. At best, they will please the teacher and become a peer tutor to help others, but never get anything to push themselves. Their own learning and self esteem stagnates. I add self esteem in there because their natural inclination is to crave material on their level. If they keep getting shut down and told to wait for everyone else, they begin to feel like they are not important or valued in the eyes of teacher, but rather, a nuisance for desiring work at their level.

      • Karen

        Abby, the answer to this is simple. So the so call “gifted” don’t become stagnant, teach all students from Kindergarten, OG or Wilson programming so that NO Child Gets Left Behind. And so that the “gifted dyslexic” students who are capable of thinking outside of the box and become creative geniuses themselves, it’s not about holding some back or moving some forward, but teaching in a way that every child can learn effectively with evidence based programs. This would lessen the gaps between the haves and have nots.

  6. Amy

    We are required to have progress and goal charts posted in our classrooms! It is written up in teacher evaluations if these charts are not posted in plain sight. We use student names, not numbers!

  7. Rebecca

    Education seems to be taking steps backwards instead of making leaps and bounds. Teachers are so involved in making, grading, and organizing formative and summative assessments to record data for each student that they often don’t even get to teach skills that they see that a child actually needs due to time restraint, lack of hands, and resources. So many fabulous teachers are changing careers because of the pressure and lack of respect that is now education. It’s a shame.

  8. Randall

    The only reading chart/competition I remember from my elementary school days, way back in the dark ages, was a chart showing how many books each student had read. My friend Janet and I were always in competition for the most read. I found that motivating, I imagine others did too, and it avoided, it seems to me, the negativity of posting students “reading level.” I would never have done that when I was teaching but fortunately worked in private education where such was not forced on us. (Retired now.)

  9. Tobie

    Interesting that within all of the comments posted that there is no mention of kids with print disabilities such as dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability that affects 20% of our population. Programs such as AR can cause serious self-esteem issues with those with dyslexia…mainly because those students are not properly identified and remediated appropriately. Fortunately I have been working with both program developers for Accelerated Reader and Learning Ally and they are merging their libraries. AR will be making all of their quizzes available in audio format and Learning Ally will be downloading all of the AR books into audio format for their website. This will allow all those with a print disability to participate in AR at their schools. Some schools in CA require specific amounts of AR points to be counted towards their grades. It will take sometime for AR and Learning Ally to merge their libraries, but it’s happening!

    • Karen

      Tobie, thank you! Yes someone who knows about dyslexia and isn’t afraid to say the feared D-word. The answer to all of this that doesn’t involve false praise as some see it or giving awards to everyone, but is to teach every student with evidence based programs that dyslexics can learn from like OG or Wilson. Every child, dyslexic and non-dyslexic can learn to read from these programs. But dyslexic children cannot learn to read from whole word, sight word, and looking at the picture of the lion to “decode” the text that his name is “Brandon” as stated in the text. This is not about giving one kid an advantage over another, or giving praise where it doesn’t necessarily need to be given, it’s about providing every student the ability to be able to learn to read and the ability to be able to learn how they learn the best.

  10. John

    Some of us who were the “high achieving readers” hated the Wall of Shame, too. Why did I cringe every Friday when the bags of MnM’s were passed out to the readers who had received ten gold stars to put on yet another green construction paper circle of our posted caterpillars (that the teachers had cut out) for reading ten books? (This was 40 years ago, back when libraries were organized with using the alphabet for fiction and the Dewey Decimal system for nonfiction, before AR took over.) Funny, I may have read more if I could have read unnoticed. But, yeah, some kids were motivated by the Wall, motivated to read as many books as possible for the sake of reading as many books as possible, regardless of the content or interest involved. I have not found that students more on the extrovert side of the spectrum suffer in non competitive environments, but I am well aware as a student, teacher, and parent of the anxiety that some folks feel in competitive classrooms that spotlight winners (and therefore losers). Susan Cain delivers an articulate TEDtalk which addresses this post:

  11. Jerry Jolly

    Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? goal and achievements can be internal but if no one knows you attained them, did they really happen. The human condition is filled with competition. Teachers are held accountable when America’s students fall behind the world but they are told not to make learning a competition. Of course it is or there would be no tests or grades.

  12. Jerry Jolly

    One more thing, aren’t we working towards more’common’ teaching and testing? How are these programs going to fit with your vision of education?

  13. Jane

    I can tell you that taking away these motivational programs is detrimental to the kids who are achieving well.

    When I was in school, we did a spelling contest every year. I think it was called the Morris and McCall spelling test, or something like that. The entire school – grade 1 to grade 8 – did the same test. The words started out very easy and got harder – each grade teacher would read out the words to be spelled, until there were no kids in the class who could spell the word and then they would stop.

    I remember in the third grade, I came in second in the whole school. Ahead of all the 8th graders but one. I got to go up on the stage, I got a trophy. It was so exciting for me, but mostly because my educational accomplishments were never celebrated at home, because I had an older brother who struggled and my Mom never praised me because she felt it would hurt his feelings. School was the only place that I got any praise or feeling of pride for doing well.

    I waited anxiously for the next year when I could do the test again – I wanted to beat my score and be the best in the WHOLE school – I didn’t want to be the 4th grader losing out to an 8th grader. But to my dismay, they stopped doing the test. Because apparently, it hurt the feelings of the kids who didn’t do as well. It was not *fair* that I got a trophy for doing well.

    Yet, I had to sit through the assembly where the naturally athletic kids got trophies and ribbons and accolades for being able to run fast and throw a ball really far. That made no sense to me, at 8 years old. Why was their accomplishment something to celebrate, and mine wasn’t?

    I see it now with my 4-year old daughter. She’s reading at a much higher grade level, but no one celebrates that, she’s not encouraged, it’s all kept under wraps.

    We should be celebrating the successes of our children. They deserve to be recognized. The “everyone is a winner” mentality has it’s place – everyone does have a talent and that needs to be nurtured – but let’s celebrate when a child does well, rather than just brush them aside for fear of hurting another precious snowflake’s feelings.

    • Tara

      And, what about the children who work really, really hard at it, probably harder than you/your child, for whom reading comes easily to? They should feel shamed because they didn’t get a green frog? So that they hate school by second grade because all their hard work only gets them shamed instead of complimented? Should their effort not be celebrated just because they aren’t naturally good at it?

      There needs to be a middle ground in school that celebrates achievements and motivates children that doesn’t inherently make others feel badly at the same time.
      This is not a special event like a spelling bee or an optional after school sport or activity — this is a child’s foundation of life, their day-to-day education. No one should feel ashamed of their capabilities if they are working as hard as they can, doing the best they can, especially not in elementary school!

      I’m sorry your parents didn’t praise you just because your brother struggled – they should have! And if you feel your daughter isn’t being challenged or encouraged enough, by all means, speak to her teacher, go up the chain if need be to get her the support she needs. Every student should be challenged and encouraged and pushed to the limits of their capabilities. But why should celebrating her accomplishments depend upon putting others down?

      I have one child (second grade) who reads four levels above his grade with ease and another (first grade) who is just above benchmarks. I praise them both because they both make me proud. But, you know which one works harder? Who spends three hours a night doing homework and other educational activities to try and get better? Definitely not the one for whom it comes easy – that one cranks out his homework as fast as he can with as little effort as possible. And I would be heartbroken if my child who struggles thought she was worth less because her teacher chose to passive-aggressively post her struggles up on a wall in the name of competition. She doesn’t, thank goodness, her teacher is wonderful.

      My children’s school does the Book It program at Pizza Hut (yes, they still run that program) but it is based on how many books each child reads and it is private between student and teacher. They also have a year long reading competition in class to win the class stuffed animal that everyone knows the results of – they talk about it every week. But, again, it is based upon how many books each child reads, (each chapter of a chapter book counts as one book so that it’s not skewed toward easy readers). Again, fun, motivating competition without shaming.

      But don’t worry all you people who feel that the less brilliant students should be ostracized, they’re in first grade and the kids already know, without it being posted anywhere, who is in the high reading groups and who is in the “dumb” reading groups (I give the kids their spelling tests each week and I literally heard one child say this about another child — “so and so is in the dumb reading group” — in first grade). They figure it out on their own — they don’t need a frog chart to tell them. So why in the world should a teacher reinforce this way of thinking by posting what students can’t do on a wall? Aren’t the posted examples of their work and the color of their reading group enough?

      Speaking of which, for the “winners,” aren’t the letters (numbers) on their report card and fact that they’re reading above grade level in-and-of itself the reward? My child doesn’t need a trophy to know how good he is at reading. He knows. He knows because he’s reading sixth grade books in the second grade, he knows because he’s in the top reading group, he knows because his classmates turn to him for help, because his teacher gives him an assignment and lets him run with it whereas others require a little more hand holding, he knows when he gets his report card and we go out for ice cream, he knows because it comes easy to him. He knows he’s smart. He’s proud of it. Much more proud of that than of the trophies he’s amassed just from being on this sports team or that one. He doesn’t need a green frog.

      • GP

        Give the advanced student more difficult work so they struggle too. Spending more time and energy on those that struggle does a disservice to those where it comes easily. Push each one so they all reach the brink of failure, learn resilience, and grow.

    • Cheri

      I understand what you’re saying and agree that children’s accomplishments need to be celebrated. Public acclaim is a great reward. But ultimately, students need intrinsic motivation and for their internal locus of control to be activated. Teaching them to set goals, work toward it, and then recognize their own accomplishment is much better than when they do it for an AR reward, sticker, or trophy.

  14. Amy

    What is recommended? I can’t tell from this article. What do you do for the child who is the athletic loser? The child who succeeds in academics but is ridiculed all day at school because they did terrible at dodge ball. What happens to the psyche of a child who is never recognized for academic achievements because it might hurt someone’s feelings while they watch the athletic kids get trophy after trophy. I wasn’t willing to find out. My child lost 3 seasons of sports. Every game! He developed an “I just don’t care and I’m not going to try any harder attitude.” I’m sure it is the same with reading.

    I’m not a teacher and I don’t profess to have studied the reading development of emerging readers. But I am a parent of 3 kids, all of whom are very different. Some are academic. Some are athletic. My oldest was one of the top reader ARs in his grade and the only recognition he got for 2 years was a BookIt certificate and a pin for for Straight As. I found both on the bottom of his backpack several weeks after school ended. When I asked him about the awards he just struggled and said…. everyone got them. He was losing motivation because his achievements weren’t celebrated. So we did something about it. We worked with the school and developed a comprehensive award system. Kids earn rewards for meeting and exceeding their individual goals. Top readers are recognized weekly on a board. At the end of the year, anyone who met their individual goals is eligible for a drawings. Top readers are recognized. My favorite award was the surprise for the top ATOS reader…. the kid who read the most challenging books. The elementary perspective of “don’t hurt anyone’s feelings” will never work because we are all human. We all lose at some point. Our challenge as parents and teachers is to teach kids to pick themselves up and try again. If you are bad at something then use that as motivation to grow stronger in that area. Time after time the most successful people in the world tell stories about how their excellence grew out of a failure or a challenge that they used to motivate their future success.

    Our society celebrates athletic success of all types but academically successful children are relegated to the shameful “nerd” status. Children will cease trying if their successes aren’t celebrated by someone because no one wants to be labeled a nerd. I understand balancing the attention. My middle child doesn’t achieve as easily as her older sibling in academics; she is easily 2 years behind his reading development. She is light years ahead of him in athletic development and is an elite soccer player who is frequently celebrated. I have conversations with each child about their strengths and their weakness and how we can shore up the skills that are a greater challenge for each of them. I work hard to celebrate each of their success in a way that encourages continued achievement. Shame on our elementary educators for not recognizing academic success.

    Everyone has different strengths. Celebrate strengths of all kinds.

    • Jane

      I couldn’t agree more. We should apply the same system of awards and rewards to academics as we do to athletics.

      • Brandon

        I agree that we should apply the same standards to academics as we do to athletics, but our society’s not going to let that happen. Look at how much money professional athletes make compared to, say, a college professor.

    • Eloise

      As someone who wasn’t good at academics or sports, I can tell you those who achieve academically are not starved for attention. It’s also not those who have a hard time academically and need special Ed. It’s those who are normal, like I was, who are brushed off for not being “special.” I was never in Challenge, which was my elementary school’s gifted and talented program (which is an awful, awful name for that) and I always felt like a loser. Always, especially because all my friends got to be in it. And do you know why I never got to be in it? CAT test scores. I still don’t believe in honors programs like that at a young age. Normal kids are too often brushed aside as just that, normal. And that’s wrong.

    • Rafael


      Not shaming students doesn’t have to come at the expense of celebrating success.

      Using your athletics analogy, there is a reason why only the Top 3 performers in a competition get a medal. The ones that are closer to the top want it and will work hard for it. If they don’t get it, they will learn from their mistakes and use it as motivation for next time. That is all fine.

      Doing the same thing for the Top 3 readers would not shame anyone, and would also not diminish success. The problem is when you start shining a light on the ones who are consistently at the bottom. Most of them are at the bottom not for lack of trying, but because they do not have or have not been taught the right tools and skills to make it.

      We don’t have kids with Cerebral Palsy, ALS or who are in wheelchairs racing in the same track meet with all of the able bodied kids. We would certainly not do it in front of the entire school and their parents. So why would we do that with reading?

  15. Nevada Caldwell

    I remember a wall like this charting reading progress in my first grade classroom when I was a child. I really enjoyed the feeling of competition and I remember feeling motivated by it.

  16. Dr. Deborah Brennan

    This happens on a larger scale when well meaning administrators create data walls that categorize students into groups of “progressing” or “lagging” . They then prescribe menus of interventions based upon the student group. This labeling of students in the school community creates a model for teachers to follow the practices described in this article. A damaging practice, especially to our struggling young learners.

  17. Lynn (CampingTeacher)

    I totally agree! Our school system used data walls and I didn’t like it at all. Children figure out who are in the lower groups and who are the strugglers even without data walls.

    Pizza Hut Book It! still exists. I use it, but not to shame anyone. I just use it to motivate everyone to read. Everyone has a private folder. When they read they color a pizza. When all their pizzas are colored they get the pizza coupon.

  18. Maria

    I just want to say this isn’t the case at every school… And we really need to stop tearing people down and pointing out each other’s inperfections… There is so much negativity already why not point out all the positive things that are happening in our schools. Your not any better than those teacher calling students “losers”… Such a horrible word especially in a school setting… Our our students are winners and thriving in their own way… Even if there learning gains are not as high as others… We have to be proud of their gains and paise them for their accomplishments… I have three children and they are each different in every way and it apals me that someone would flat out call them loser just because they would be considered below level… I know society has its own expectations but we make up society… It is us judgin, pointing fingers, expecting more and more as if we ourselves where perfect!

    • Karen

      Maria, I don’t think that they are being called “loser” per se, but that is how the child ends up feeling. I have an 18 yr old that got missed. I found out his sophomore year that he was dyslexic and didn’t understand their were other signs other than reversals of letters. I didn’t know all of the symptoms of. All I knew was that he was intelligent, and he felt stupid. Yes there is a lot that schools do right, but if you were in the dyslexic community and read all of the “success stories” of successful dyslexics, my most recent on Barbara Corcoran and Jennifer Aniston. And if you knew how shaming even a simple comment of “if you just try harder” can have on a dyslexic. It’s because they are being taught in a left brained world when they understand the right brain world and everything is just different. It is not about just trying harder. There is such a complex system that is attached to how we learn, and many dyslexics have dysfunctions in the auditory processing, visual processing, working memory, etc. Again, it is not about trying harder. So, when you are in a school for most of the day and are not praised for not being able to do your homework because it is too difficult, and not praised for being able to read a chapter fluently and comprehend it because you are struggling just to read the words, and are not praised for not being able to solve math problems on paper because of the dysgraphia/dyscalculia connections, it is hard for a child in this left brain world to come out of it feeling accomplished when they are getting pushed through as a lazy, uninterested student who doesn’t try hard enough when they are trying twice as hard just attempt to absorb the same information. Yes I agree that we should acknowledge the accomplishments of any child, but for these children, and they are vast numbers (3 generations of undiagnosed dyslexia) that have a history of “feeling” inadequate or like losers, or like my son feels stupid as a Senior because he now understands how everyone else has been educated and he has been pushed through. This is not a little problem. It is widespread.

  19. Judy

    My daughter loved to read until 3rd grade when she got a teacher that “lived” the Accelerated Reading Program. My daughter was one of the top readers in not only her class, but the entire elementary school. The problem was- there was no end- she was pushed and pushed to read until she hated it and started to fail the comprehension tests at the end on purpose. She is now a junior in college and still hates to read. I despise these programs.

  20. Audrey

    Oh good grief, let’s just give everyone a gold star even if they don’t deserve it because the truth is to harsh!! This article makes me want to throw up. I don’t care how hard you try, everyone IS NOT on the same level and to take accolades away from kids who earn it is disgraceful. I’m tired of giving any thing to everyone because of an entitled attitude. I will give it to you if you EARN IT.

    • Karen

      Wow Audrey, I hope you aren’t a teacher. So you believe in a system that does not offer a wheel chair to someone who needs it and then when they have relay races in gym and the child in the wheelchair can’t participate, so let’s put them on the bottom of the board because they couldn’t participate (read) because they couldn’t run. I can clearly tell that you don’t have the intelligence and ability to look beyond your own little box of yourself, and yourself, and yourself. Bravo Audrey! Ooops. I forgot to get you a ribbon!

  21. Eileen

    Since when is this age group spurred on by the success of others? These are children in kindergarten and first grade who aren’t EARNING anything. They’re developmentally achieving what they can. Your JOB is to take them a step further without discouraging so that success might breed success. Later, when they have the ability to set and reach goals, by all means institute some competition without shaming or demeaning in the classroom. Some of the hardest working students do not get the best grades. Ask anyone with ADHD who spends hours at night, without medication on board, to complete homework just to get a B in science.

  22. Chad

    This goes beyond reading. I have a child who is dyslexic and ADHD. His teacher used Class Dojo to openly praise or berate student behavior. Everyday, my son would come home and ask to log in and check his “progress”. Each day, he saw negative remarks from his teacher and became discouraged. All the while, my wife and I worked with doctors to get medication for the ADHD and a reading interventionist who started the Barton Method program to help him overcome the dyslexia.

    My point is this: we had enough battles to fight without the additional weight his teacher put on him about his behavior. He is doing much better now, but it has taken additional time because of the teacher’s “motivation” through a web app.

    I’m not advocating the “all kids are winners” mentality. I’m simply asking teachers to understand that even though you may spend more waking hours in a day with my child than I do, you hardly know them and certainly do not understand what is going on “behind the scenes”. You couldn’t possibly. You have 20 to 24 other students to deal with and give attention and instruction to. However, I will leave this food for thought, which is the same comment I made to his teacher when I asked that Class Dojo be eliminated from the classroom: If you have time to spend writing up four to five “offenses” my child has committed during the day (and, I assume, writing up the other students as well), you’ve got time to do something a lot more constructive…like teach the class.

    • Gina

      Agreed, Chad! I used to use a clip chart and a card system before that. I was so tired of hearing the kids whisper about how Jonny got a red card or how Josie had to clip down 3 times. I also felt embarrassed when I realized they weren’t just talking about those consequences at school, but also at home. Those parents were then coming to school with concerns about the Josie’s and the Jonny’s.

      So, I stopped using them. And you know, my classroom has NOT suffered for it behaviour wise and the feeling of classroom community has flourished. So, if a teacher feels like it works for them in their classroom, I’m not afraid to ask, “And are your struggling students behaving markedly better, or are your top students just getting rewarded for their already good behaviour?”

  23. Amanda

    Although I personally disagree with some o what you said I do agree with not shameing anyone. I was a middle of the road student and for me personally the ” status” boards and compation made me work harder. My last comment will be that your whole argument lost all its meaning to be with your second to last sentence. If you are so worried about kids self esstem and such why shame them anywhere, there is no reason to shame anyone even those who lose at a sport. Those loses should be used as a learning experience on how to grow and do better. So how about when you write about not shameing you actually promote not shameing

  24. Jason

    Well…my opinion might not be popular, but here goes. First, I think calling the kids “losers” is a bit extreme and this isn’t “shaming”; many of my academically lowest students work their rear-ends off. The chart they show above LABELS students on their achievement; that is wrong.

    However, I don’t see anything wrong with friendly competition in the classroom nor having visual progress walls for academic success. I have a math skills progress wall. If they want to move to the next step, they show mastery of a skill by working for it. I have a Lexia progress wall. If they want their sticker, they work to make their minutes. (If they make their minutes, they will progress in levels). I have an AR words racetrack & an AR goal chart. If they want to move their car or get their sticker, they work for it by reading at their level.

    Do you know what ALL of those charts have in common? Working for something regardless of your level, being motivated, and having HIGH EXPECTATIONS.

    We live in a society of self-entitlement, laziness, excuses, and irresponsibility and this will not change until we instill in our students’ individual accountability. Just my 2 cents.

    • Brandon

      I think when teachers embrace one extreme (survival of the fittest) or another (“everyone’s a winner”) it sets children up for failure. It’s a delicate balance.

  25. Jason

    Evidence shows data walls are effective ways to communicate to students, staff and community where a school or class is progressing. But, the point I want to make is evidence shows games and competitions are great ways to engage students. You vilify this teacher, but you miss the larger picture…that she is using evidence to guide her practice, and is evaluating student growth and making instruction INDIVIDUALIZED. I’m thinking you might need to do some research on data driven, DI. This is a great teacher doing the best she can!

    • Rafael

      Very true. Data walls ARE effective ways to communicate to students, and the community. It communicates to teachers which kids are behind, and it communicates to students and the community who are the winners and who are the losers. It communicates to those at the bottom that no matter how hard they try, the will not be nearly as good as the rest of the group.

      Evidence shows that games and competition are great motivators for students, as long as their competition is within reach. Once the top third starts separating from the bottom third, the gap will tend to widen. At this point it is less of a competition and more of a public display of abilities and disabilities.

      To your big picture point, it is also absolutely true that this teacher is using evidence to guide HER practice. It is a useful tool, but mostly for the teacher, not the struggling student. So why must it be in display for everyone to see it?

      Avoiding shaming struggling students does not have to come at the expense of rewarding success.

  26. Hunter Currey

    Effect, not affect. Affect is a verb–to Act on. Effect ins a noun–the rEsult of something.

  27. Pam

    As a parent I have been saying this since first grade, when during the holiday break my 6 year old boy said, “Mommy, why am I stupid?” I traced it to the reading level board in the class, a class that had way more girls than boys. And since he was “S,” he hadn’t had the most recent assessment, so his dots were a few boxes behind the others. He didn’t know that, but he internalized that there was something wrong with him. So glad he finally asked so we could try to undo the damage. The school didn’t care. I also totally disagree with the AR reading contest. Young readers need to learn that reading is personal and satisfying and that all reading is good. If a child scores a 70 on their test, they fail, and don’t get the award for that book. They are too young and vulnerable to tell them they are wrong because their experience didn’t match the experience of the creator of the standardized test. This blog post is right on!

  28. Christi

    I teach Kindergarten and we purposely made our data walls to have grade level expectations that every child can accomplish. I also set individual goals for kids with learning disabilities, dyslexia, etc., who may not be abel to meet the full expectation. I feel like sometimes we “under” celebrate the success of students to avoid hurting feelings. My data board has been a motivator for students and parents alike. I have my own special needs daughter, whose name probably won’t ever go up under a “math facts” category, but her special needs shouldn’t overshadow the accomplishments of another child. I am weary of this wishy washy approach to teaching. High expectations are important and celebrating achievement is equally important. We are all working for a “pay check” and kids needs motivation in both intrinsic and extrinsic ways. I’m a good teacher and I LOVE my students. I would never purposely hurt or single out a child BUT celebrating children who are meeting goals, is not a bad thing.

  29. Retiredteacher

    my…. once again it is not pc to let students know the real story … lest we ruin their ‘self=esteem’ we cannot let students know that 1) no u r not the best reader — that would be johhny
    2) yes, you can improve, and i will help you; — that is why i am a teacher (better: why i am your parent)
    3) but, it is up to you to want this and be willing to work hard — that is why i will help you set attainable goals and steps to reach them and then push u along now and then when you are losing sight of the prize
    4) and, my dear child, if you work hard at this, whether or not u succeed at becoming the best reader in the room, you will have achieved something far greater — your will have developed character, values, ethics and wisdom;
    5) and really, your self-esteem has no reason to suffer because u know u tried
    6) finally, failure is not a 4 letter word; it is part of life’s learning curve, get used to it because it can come despite our best efforts to succeed
    7)pick urself up brush urself off and start all over again

  30. Angela

    What people are failing to see here is simple. Would you eat in front of a starving child? I hope the answer is no for everyone! Would you tell a starving child it’s their fault they’re starving if they just work hard they would have money for food? Nope? Who’s responsible for taking care of a starving child standing right in front of you? The parents? The government? How about you are! The same goes with education children hunger to learn, at least until they’re told or shown they’re not good enough over and over. Then they get to a point where they say what’s the use? I’m stupid, i’m a loser. I’m 40 years old, I read books like crazy, I have a 126 IQ. If you ask me to read something out loud i’ll stumble and mispronounce words I know well. It has nothing to do with my ability to read, it has to do with social anxiety and a real fear of being singled out and having groups of people looking at me and judging me. I’m currently getting my Masters degree and plan to get my doctorate. I’m a smart cookie but ask me to do algebra and i’ll tell you i’m not good at that. Why? Because I was made fun of while learning to read because I couldn’t see and my parents couldn’t afford to buy me glasses. Why? Because no one took the time to teach me math in a way I could understand it instead of just the way it’s always been done. Kids bully, but so do teachers. “I know you know how to read, quick acting stupid and just read it.” That was a teacher. While the kids fell in line chanting stupid stupid over and over. I couldn’t see until a 5th grade hard as nails teacher kept me in at recess and wrote words on a board and had me stand close then a little farther, then farther, until she discovered I couldn’t see. I would tryto hold the book close to my face so I ccould see to read and they’d tell me to quit covering my face and read. Count how many teachers ignored what was staring them right in the face k,1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. Five teachers that ignored my problems and bullied and made fun of me. Five teachers that stared into the face of a starving child and told her it was her fault. Those five teachers also ignored the bruises on my body, the fact that i would wear long sleeves in the summer. Until 5th grade, then I could read, then I wasn’t stupid, then I wasn’t the weird girl. Because she saw the starving child and decided to do something. She got me glasses and she let me come to her house anytime I needed to get a way from my abusive father for extra tutoring time. Which she did tutor me for awhile until I caught up and surpassed all the kids in my class. Then we’d swim in a kiddy pool in the back yard, or watch movies and eat popcorn. But she saved me from a life of being the loser on the bulletin board at school. When we moved after 6th grade I was in the honors society, I got awards for singing in choir. I figured out if I wasn’t home until he passed out I didn’t get beat so I kept myself and my little sister away as much as possible. All because one teacher took the time to see the starving child in front ofher and do something about it.

  31. Jackson

    …and yet we publish “progress data” for schools/districts on walls, in newspapers, social media, etc. In NC, school “grades” were recently released to the public, despite overwhelming controversy over accuracy of scoring. Educators are supposed to be encouraged to work harder to achieve better grades next year (when so many factors in this grading system are beyond their control), but many are so discouraged by this inaccurate reflection on their own work and that of their colleagues, that they are leaving the profession entirely. If the philosophy that shaming doesn’t improve performance is true, I wish it could be applied to adults as well as students. :/

  32. She wasn’t trying to hurt anyone… | Caitlin Gammel's Teaching Blog

    […] So, I follow a lot of teaching blogs via Facebook, and I’ve been seeing a lot of classroom management strategies similar to this one popping up on my newsfeed lately. I figured this one would be perfect for this blog response because it deals with the negative aspects of implementing behaviour charts within the classroom. This blog was written by Kathleen Jasper and it is titled Shaming Students One Wall at a Time. […]

  33. Briana

    I was right with the author until that next-to-the-last sentence. Why is shaming any more acceptable at a sporting event than a classroom? By all means, congratulate & applaud the winning team/player, but shaming the loser is just poor sportsmanship. You don’t have to have an “everybody is a winner” mentality to just be a decent person and encourage the loser rather than beat them when they’re down.

  34. Rich M.

    Is reading a competitive pursuit? I understand life is full of competition, but we certainly don’t apply that towards individual learning & development. Do educators really want to enforce this idea? Which is “no matter how well you may be doing, you need to be better than the next person.” Our society is full of that lame headed thinking already. If your job started putting up FICO scores on the wall would you be more inclined to manage your finances? No, you would be more inclined to criticize others which is the end result of these silly educator games. This isn’t a matter of telling every child that they are winners, it is a matter of telling every child that you won’t be defined in class by your reading progress. Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg and Scott Adams (Dilbert) would have been noted as behind due to their dyslexia. It’s a good thing they didn’t have the teacher’s charting their lack of success (which was already evident to themselves).

  35. longfellow

    I was on the other end of the spectrum from some of the folks here—always the “smartest” one in class—and I absolutely think I was damaged by it, too. I cheated on my spelling tests even though I was more or less the best speller because I could not take even the possibility of getting a lower score than anybody. Games like Around the World and competitions like timed tests of multiplication gave me an extraordinary amount of anxiety. I developed an identity of the lazy smart guy, which really bit me in the ass when I got to high school and college and could no longer float through the hardest classes without the discipline. I can tell you that the reward system was a motivator—to be ruthless in defending my throne. Not to learn. And I was the one who *got* the rewards! It’s a bad system for the “smart” ones and a *worse* system for the “slower” ones.

  36. Junkieturtle

    The author makes a tangible point, but the implications of this are of course that children should be coddled and bars lowered to make them all equal. Children are not equal. Nobody is. Leading them to believe that they are by removing any and all distinctions not only does nothing to motivate the “losers”, as the author calls them, it removes incentives for the “winners” as well. If the “losers” don’t have legitimate medical reasons for being behind, it’s time for them to step it up. And if they do, additional help and alternative teaching methods are required. But very likely they won’t and not because they don’t have the ability, but because they simply don’t care enough to try. You can’t hold back the many because of the sympathy and pity for the few. Don’t take what I’ve written to be an endorsement of actual shaming or bullying of children though. However, highlighting progress that some children have legitimately earned is NOT shaming children. It’s recognizing hard work and ability which is very valuable in pretty much every walk of life. It’s showing that we as a society and a nation place value on hard work and effort. Teaching them anything other than that is teaching them about a reality that simply doesn’t exist.

  37. Nicki Savage

    I was shamed as a kid. I had undiagnosed autism, terrible ADHD problems that were only exacerbated by said undiagnosed autism, and clumsy problems that were, again, the fault of something no one had begun to think about.

    I went to high school having had no friends in 12 years of school except my mother. As a military brat I moved so often and was so weird, no one loved me. Not even my mother, because later I found out she chose my abuser over me, and insisted on suing me with a family lawyer. All in the name of protection I accepted her force and abuse of sorts.

    Then I got an IQ test that told me two things: I was autistic, and I had an IQ of 173. Well above normal standards, where many people are under 100. Sarah Palin herself is under 100. I was so high on the bell curve I was a nonstandard deviation of intellect.

    Suddenly, being unloved didn’t matter anymore. But the shaming continued. So I stayed in my room, wrote my stories, and as a miracle ended up graduating from high school and starting a novel that April.

    Eleven years later, it’s published. Twelve on April 2nd will be the anniversary of the very first draft.

    Shaming, sadly, still happens here. I called my teacher asinine for something she said about the mentally ill, and of course, she put me out of the class. A college English II class had me chastising an obviously inept teacher, who cared more about humiliating me than passing her students.

    I deal with shame. I deal with all of the travesties of daily life. My scars are physical, mental, emotional, even temporal. But my god, I have never seen anything more valuable than being labeled a loser. Being a loser meant I had to try. It meant I was not allowed to skate my way through life.

    I had to have character. Passion for my work. And besides that, hope for the future. I managed all of that. I was a loser. I am still, in respects to typical life and existence, a loser. But in the make of my cloth, I am so blindingly resilient that I have survived fourteen years of abuse from my father, neglect from my mother, ostracizing from every person who could be bothered to do so, and the untold layers it’s built on my soul make me realize no “WINNER” could do what I do.

    The winners are the real losers. They have their reward in front of them. They can look at it, polish it, brag about it, make others feel worse about themselves with it, and yet the tarnish comes quicker than the glory. The bloom falls off the rose alarmingly quick, and then like mortal existence it dies.

    Winners don’t know how to deal with adversity. LOSERS DO. And I don’t know about you, but being shamed was one of the most enlightening points of my life. Because they can’t walk in my shoes, and even one day in my body would convince these “achievers” that they’ve already lost the war.

    Perceptively, I lose. But I’ve fought so many wars that in the end, I’ll have won so much more than any human glory could give me. The universe itself will sing the praises of people like me…people who truly, honestly, will never die.

    Losers don’t die. They fight on……because an eternal struggle is best for existence.

    • Karen

      Nicki, thank you for your fluent, well written entry (which reflects that you are no “loser”).

      Your words give me hope for my high IQ son (with ADHD) who by 6th grade, thought he was a “loser”.

      He was shamed daily for his lack of executive functioning skills, though I did not see any program in place to teach those skills.

      We have been home schooling for 4 years. He is gaining the skills he lacked. His self esteem is returning. He now sees his potential.

      I hope he will prove to be as resilient as you were.

  38. Teresa

    I teach special needs students. We work on improving fluency. Students have an individual graph in the back of their reading binders which no one else sees. I tell them daily that we never compete against others only with ourselves. We are trying to beat ourselves whenever we can and see our individual graph go up. We talk about privacy and how we don’t share our scores, because the only person who needs to know is the one we are competing with…ourselves. My students are so excited to see their own personal graph go up one more word, because they “beat themselves” and know they are making progress!

  39. Lucia

    In third grade my son had the misfortune of having a teacher who was a complete novice. She held a reading contest. The “winners” would all be treated to ice cream in the classroom. My son who had many, many learning challenges and another boy with reading challenges of course could not meet the required standards, no accommodations were made. On the day the class celebrated their accomplishments my son and his friend were required to stand outside of the classroom in the sun. The boys were not allowed to share in the success of their classmates. The teacher might as well have put dunce caps on their heads. My son shared this sad story some ten years later. I asked why he didn’t tell me when it happened. He said they didn’t deserve the treat. He said it didn’t matter. It did matter! It mattered a great deal. It still matters to this day. Remembering his telling of this horrific, sad story still brings tears to my eyes.

  40. shailynn

    This entire conversation is based on a side issue. The REAL issue is that teachers are expected each year to do more with less, given classes of 30+ students (not even daycare allows that ratio) and to top it all off our pay/tenure/job security is connected to their performance on one single day when none of the relevant variables (how they are feeling, what happened on the bus, how their home life is, did they have food today) are even taken into consideration. If our students and teachers were given the time to get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses not just academically, but socially, artistically, musically, medically, etc. ; we would not be having these very small conversations about these small things. Teachers could help students develop their own goals and assist them in reaching them on a personal level instead of having walls of data that dictate how they should feel about themselves. This whole thing is sad. I, as a teacher, HATE it. Other countries don’t do this to their children, and guess where our technology and business leaders come from…. These systems don’t foster a child learning about themselves and THAT is what the first lesson each day should be about.

  41. Lorenzo

    I would just like to point out that every Objective study that has been done points to the fact that there is no correlation between self-esteem and academic performance. The factor that is most closely linked to high academic performance is Work Ethic. You can have low self-esteem but be a hard worker and you will have high grades. If you have high self-esteem and a poor work ethic, when you fail, you blame everyone around you. Does this sound familiar, Teachers?
    Whether you track it publicly or not, the students needs to understand they are in competition only with themselves. Once that is instilled in them, they will push themselves and be able to deal with their success as well as with failure. It is a maladjusted adult who cannot deal with failure by picking themselves up and trying again and again until succes is achieved.
    How many teachers have students who are so afraid of making a mistake, they don’t even try?
    You are sadly mistaken if you believe a little chart posted in a classroom is an issue. It is the attitudes that the adults instill about what that chart represents that is driven home.

  42. Karen

    The public school where I taught uses the Accelerated Reader program but it is not a competition. I didn’t even know the program could be used that way. The program was a HUGE success the way we used it. We just took the kids to the library and let them pick a book. When they finished the book they took a test. If they completely bombed the test they were told to re-read the book. If their results showed that they put forth even a little effort they were allowed to get another book. The results were completely private and many of the kids didn’t even ask to see their scores. In six years of teaching there were only two kids who would not read in the entire (small) school. One child was in my class and I had him read Popular Science magazines instead because he really liked them, and then he would tell me about what he read. Competition is completely unnecessary to see positive results!

  43. Sarah

    I agree with many of your comments. I’m a teacher and do not agree with this, but I’m mandated by my school to do this. Don’t always assume it’s the teacher, because my district does this system-wide. Some teachers feel the way that I do, but are forced to do this. We have to follow the rules sometimes to keep our jobs and provide for our own families. I love teaching, but it’s definitely not what it used to be. I am a teacher who doesn’t feel our students are just a test score.

  44. Kate

    Every adult and every child is good at something. A bulletin board focusing on all strengths like best helper, cleaner and reader etc. would be better for boosting confidence. Preparing children for a unrealistic world where everyone is the best is not beneficial. The creation of an environment that showcases individuality and praise for different skill sets and levels is very realistic. We all have our strengths – those should be the focus.

  45. Concerned Mom Oklahoma

    In my son and daughters 4th grade class, they have AR points that they must achieve every week. My son is a slower reader. He always has been and thats ok. My daughter loved reading, until this year. My son says his teacher makes him nervous. These AR points seem to be the only thing she grades on for the subject of Reading. My son tries his hardest yet, he receives an F. He has B’s and C’s in every other subject but, an F in reading. Im pretty sure if he couldnt read then, the other subjects would be lacking. My daughter has all A’s in every subject but, an F in reading. To me this is raising a red flag. It is a small school. Friends, brothers and inlaws are pretty much who work there. My son and daughter now despise reading books. They use to love it. There is something wrong here and I dont know what to do. My son’s teacher is constantly putting him in detention for not having enough AR points. Is this normal?

  46. Shamed as a "winner" too

    My husband and I were recently discussing this ourselves. I went to a private elementary that prided itself on reading more than math. AR was a big part of the curriculum. I was always one of the “good” readers in the class. I would have been a green frog all the time. The problem with that is that it isn’t necessarily a good thing. I felt that I had to be the best or l would disappoint everyone. If I got just okay I was a loser to myself. As for the three other people in my small class who were up there with me, we continued to fight throughout school…until high school. Two of us finished first and second in our grade. The other two of us gave up and became “average”. We were burnt out!

    My husband on the other hand, was one of the Orange frogs. Later he was diagnosed dyslexic. He is a highly intelligent man but growing up he said he thought he was “stupid” because he couldn’t keep up with the others and was publicly shamed on a board like the one mentioned. Are either of our stories school “success” stories? I don’t think so. One student is burned out from being forced to be better than anyone else, the other student is bright but made to think they are stupid. This is so wrong.

  47. Matriarch

    Please allow me to offer a different perspective. I came from a horrible home. My parents were both terribly unhappy people and unstable. I was the kid picked to be the family scapegoat. But I was smart. And I discovered that I could make good grades. Seeing my name at the top of those lists gave me a reason to keep going. I was the top student over and over and over. I was ugly, skinny, sickly and wore horrible clothes. We were poor because my parents were unstable. But I was smart and I could prove it to everybody who looked down their nose at me.

  48. Harry

    I read these articles & the way SOME people view these boards blows my mind. I have always viewed them as a “progress” chart where so e have made more “progress” than others……but everyone has made “progress” !! They can be used to identify learning disabilities; they can be used as tools to determine a lack of motivation or, date I say it, laziness; they can also be used to reward the hard workers……they should never be used to “shame” anyone & I don’t believe that any teachers EVER use them for that purpose. It’s parents that have issues with them……some “gloat”, some “complain”……but you can’t make everyone happy.
    Progress MUST be monitored & charted if we expect kids to strive to improve…….if not, why send home “progress” reports ??
    I’m not a teacher, however I do coach youth sports, & I can tell you that this “everyone’s a winner” attitude is disrespectful to children. We are not teaching them how to deal with adversity &, yes, losing !! Challenge kids, encourage kids, reward kids but also be honest with them so they know you care & want to help them…….they will respond !!

  49. Jenny

    I completely agreed until you said applaud winners and shame losers at sporting events. That doesn’t even belong there. Why shame anyone if they are trying?

  50. Suzanna Bortz

    Unless every child is capable of being in the front of the pack, the chart should not be on the wall.

  51. Tanya

    I am a big fan of AR for K-2 or 3. I teach 2nd grade. I’ve had non readers enter my room and leave as top readers due to the love of reading what they like at their own level.

  52. marsha

    In sixth grade, our teacher sat us in the rows according to our grades each grading period…smartest kid in first seat, first row to the last seat in last row for the student with the lowest grades. Imagine how that last row felt? I remember the sixth weeks’ period that I was demoted to the second row. I was devastated! I can’t tell you much about middle school but I remember that!!

    • Ann

      Our class did that too. It backfired a bit, though. The boys always thought it was cool to be in the back and tried to get seats there. The only person who wanted to have that first seat was this one smart overweight girl. I always let her have it and made sure I got one wrong on the test because I didn’t want to be in that first spot!

  53. MaryMary

    I was a top of the class student from a very early age. Believe me, we don’t need MORE acknowledgement of our abilities and achievements, we are inundated with them! Best way to motivate is to praise, that is what my mom did to us, even though we were poor. Many kids don’t have what they need to succeed. Chicago just closed a number of branch libraries in areas where people have no cars and 200 of the schools have NO library. Read some time, heartbreaking stories of kids looking for books in their classrooms, and finding them falling apart. Or getting textbooks 2 months after classes start. Spend some money on these kids and they will achieve as well.

  54. 8th grader

    As a former participater in “the wall” I know that it can hurt people’s self esteem. I myself was never in the group with lower academic skills, but most of my friends were. It wasn’t that they didn’t try just as hard, or even harder than I did. Some people just need more time to comprehend things. As someone who’s has always been a part of the “higher” groups, I can say that these charts can jumpstart poor feelings between classmates. Many of my friends stopped hanging around me when I did better than them. Not because I bragged or pointed out that I got a higher grade or level than them, but because it was written on the wall for everyone to see and they thought that I might become prideful.

  55. Ann

    I was one of the kids always with the most stars in reading, always in the top reading group. But I was an awkward mess at any kind of sports, always picked last for teams, and was hopelessly unaware of how to put together a cute outfit in the latest style like the other girls did. At least being acknowledged on one area made me feel proud of something. And now you’re trying to take that away from kids who were like I was? Every kid is good at something. Let them shine and be acknowledged for it.

  56. Leslie Jurado

    You are assuming that all kids have the same starting point when you compare where they are assessment-wise. Not all children are born with the same gifts or learning styles or are skilled at testing. There is no “standard” child yet overtime in schools in measured by standards. Everything is based on assessments and percentages not on how far a child has come or how hard they try. My son has multiple learning disabilities due to prenatal exposure to alcohol. He tries very hard just to focus and retain. He will never be grade level but he is valuable and worthy. The “school to prison pipeline” is fueled by viewing children who struggle academically as lazy or less than their peers.

  57. Suzanna

    If it’s voluntary, if students can freely choose to participate and have the freedom to withdraw, then maybe. My own children loved reading, 99%tile, HATED those programs. What about finding out what’s helpful to each child (ask them!) and then doing that. One size fits all usually doesn’t fit.

  58. competitor

    I was absolutely one of the losers in school, but I loved the reading competitions (at that time it was Book It!) Because those were the one thing I was good at and the only opportunity I had to show what I could do. It wasn’t going to be in gym class or at recess, it was reading. I also changed schools a lot. I would have been so disappointed if one of my “new schools” had adopted this methodology. I may have given up on the one thing did well.

  59. Jeannine

    Sadly, what many do not understand is that top administrators in the Education field tell (demand) teachers to post these items in the classroom. It becomes part of their job and if not then they are ideally not in compliance. You must understand that many practices in classrooms these days are in part of a higher order of dictated mandates that are imposed on the poor teachers who are just trying to do their jobs effectively and still entertain (comply) with the powers that be in Education. It is unfortunate to say the least. Have mercy on the teachers and what you may see in the classrooms. It is not all their doing.


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