There is a real need for students to have a fundamental understanding of the material that can not be properly accessed or viewed through a traditional multiple choice exam structure. The heavy movement towards standardized tests and exit examinations has created an environment where teachers and students feel pressured to only study and learn specific topics that are tested. I have seen students in my class that can mechanically solve algebraic problems for x, but when asked have no clear understanding of why they are doing the operations. They had the process explained to them once and then repeated the process 30 more times on a worksheet for homework. They have been practicing problem solving using this method for so long now that students can't even solve simple problems that aren't clearly structured to fit into an equation.
This chapter covers the need for educators to truly treat their career as a profession. Many teachers have accepted a mindset that their current work and efforts are enough. They meet the requirements for professional development mandated by the district and they go through the annual review by an administrator and that is it. True professionals should always be striving to improve and better their work. They should consider their jobs to be of worth and actually be angry about other teachers not performing at the expected level.
It's not that teachers should be jealous that a different department has easier state standards to meet. It's that some teachers are actively teaching badly and everyone accepts that it is more trouble to fix a bad tenured teacher than to just ignore the problem.
This chapter highlights the issues Wagner has seen and identified during his time as a teacher and administrator. Teachers need to actually treat their profession as a profession and not give it lip service. Settling for the status quo isn't fair to the students or society and teachers need to stop using it as a crutch for not improving their practice. If it's too much effort and trouble to teach relavent information then maybe teaching shouldn't be someone career.
In the military they wont let a non-performer re-enlist. While some people scrap by under the radar, the system is designed so that if you are not advancing and becoming more competent and skilled you are not given the option to stay on for another 4 years.