Friday, July 01, 2011

School notes

important column by Ravitch :

"For the past year, the nation's public schools and the educators who work in them have been subjected to an unending assault. Occasionally someone will suggest that this is just another swing of the pendulum and is nothing new. I don't agree. In the past, we have had pendulum swings about pedagogical methods or educational philosophy, but never a full-fledged, well-funded effort to replace public schools with private management and never a full-throated effort to hold public school teachers accountable for the ills of society.

"What is happening now has no precedent in the past. For the first time in our history, there is a concerted attempt, led by powerful people, to undermine the very idea of public schooling and to de-professionalize those who work in this sector. ...

" As research studies accumulate, the evidence in support of current corporate reform policies grows weaker. The evidence about the effects of high-stakes testing, merit pay, judging teachers by test scores, charter schools, and vouchers runs strongly against No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, as well as the mean-spirited policies advanced by Tea Party governors with the support of Michelle Rhee and her Students First front group. The nine-year study by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science on "Incentives and Test-based Accountability," plus the recent work of the National Center on Education and the Economy were the latest to warn that corporate reform strategies are seriously flawed...."
From Stephen Krashen:
The US Department of Education is planning the most massive and expensive testing program ever seen on the planet, far exceeding the already unacceptable level of testing demanded by NCLB. The feds are adding interim tests, possible pretests (to measure improvement), are encouraging testing in all subjects, and now they have announced plans to test pre-kindergarten children ("kindergarten readiness tests; I assume we will soon see plans for pre-school readiness testing.

There is no evidence that the new tests will help children. If they fail, students and teachers will suffer, but testing companies will keep their profits and will get to try again.
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