60 years ago, after the GI Bill opened up admissions to higher education and colleges decided they needed a way to control admissions,
"Colleges decided that the SAT were a useful shortcut, a way to measure future performance in college. And nervous parents and competitive kids everywhere embraced the metric, and stick with it, even after seeing (again and again) that all ...the SAT measures is how well you do on the SAT. It's easier to focus on one number than it is to focus on a life...
Measurement is fabulous. Unless you're busy measuring what's easy to measure as opposed to what's important.
~ Seth Godin
Testing has since then become the centerpiece of the "Education Machine" because it appeares to be "objective," and therefore functions to camouflage the insidious divisions and distinctions that education makes when "knowledge" has been commodified.
The so-called "Common Core" curriculum is a response to and an an expansion of the notion of "universal" testing, by giving the "testers" a universal body of "konwledge" against which children may be measured (and found wanting, or not, depending on social class). These next two items report on this phenomenon.
The FIRST one, from Valerie Strauss' increasingly relevant WaPo blog, the (ironically named) "Answer Sheet," earlier this year, provides a deep and incisive critique of the implications of the "Common Corpse" to early childhood education.
When the standards were first revealed in March 2010, many early childhood educators and researchers were shocked. “The people who wrote these standards do not appear to have any background in child development or early childhood education,” wrote Stephanie Feeney of the University of Hawaii, chair of the Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.Proving once again the "Bad science" is actually WORSE than No science.
The promoters of the standards claim they are based in research. They are not. There is no convincing research, for example, showing that certain skills or bits of knowledge (such as counting to 100 or being able to read a certain number of words) if mastered in kindergarten will lead to later success in school. Two recent studies show that direct instruction can actually limit young children’s learning. At best, the standards reflect guesswork, not cognitive or developmental science.
Meanwhile, in another venue, long-time Common Corpse critic and former teacher Susan Ohanian weighed in with her characteristic fervor on the pernicious influence of the Gates Foundation (which, with Prez LowBar's assent and approval, wants to put computers in third-world classrooms where there's not even any electricity or running water, but which will provide a ready, new market for Windows apps):
The New York Times editorial board is enthusiastic about the new teacher evaluation system imposed on New York City teachers by the New York State education commissioner because, in their words, this represents an important and necessary step toward carrying out the rigorous new Common Core education reforms.Once more, the echoes of an earlier age resound through memory: Follow the fucking MONEY.
Translation: Another Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reform in place....
The Times board asserts that these reforms, which set learning benchmarks, have been adopted by 45 states, and it is essential that teachers be good enough to meet them.
Saying one more time that current teachers aren't good enough.
Kids aren't good enough. Teachers aren't good enough.
Parents, you're next.
Ever reluctant to mention Gates money, the New York Times Editorial Board doesn't mention that the 45 states accepting the Common Core did so only because U. S. education secretary Arne Duncan threatened them with loss of federal money if they didn't.
The New York Times Editorial Board doesn't mention that the new teacher evaluation springs, not out of the head of Zeus or the spirit of John Dewey, but out of the purse strings of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
More on Gates' money? There is at present an elaborate "charm offensive" going on to induce teachers to accede to the proposed, gigantic boom in Microsoft's presence in their classrooms:
Sunday's Seattle Times tells us of a strange problem encountered by the richest man in the world. He has discovered that his money is not working its magic in education -- teachers are not for sale.
The Gates Foundation has spent the past decade promoting hard hitting education reforms. Organizations they fund have conducted research, lobbied politicians, and advanced policies that have brought us Value Added teacher and principal evaluations, charter school expansion, Teach For America corps members, and merit pay. They have poured millions into efforts to shape public opinion, sponsoring Education Nation and the propaganda documentary Waiting for Superman, and its star, Michelle Rhee. They have told us how important teachers are, but in spite of all this attention, teachers seem positively ungrateful.
So now the Gates Foundation is on what has been called a "charm offensive." According to Seattle Times reporter Linda Shaw, the Gates Foundation last year brought 250 teachers to a hotel in Arizona to share their new vision. The Gates Foundation's Irvin Scott said, "We're trying to start a movement. A movement started by you. A movement you're leading." (Emphases supplied)
They're tricksy baggages, ain't they?
The Blame Game: Parents get the blame, students get the blame, SCHOOLS get the blame, but the truth is "Poor schools underperform largely because of poverty and economic inequality, not because teachers have it too easy," writes David Sirota. Yes, it's the money, stooopit:
In other words, elite media organizations (which, in many cases, have their own vested financial interest in education “reform”) go out of their way to portray the anti-public-education movement as heroic rather than what it really is: just another get-rich-quick scheme shrouded in the veneer of altruism.
That gets to the news that exposes “reformers’” schemes — and all the illusions that surround them. According to a new U.S. Department of Education study, “about one in five public schools was considered high poverty in 2011 … up from about to one in eight in 2000.” This followed an earlier study from the department finding that “many high-poverty schools receive less than their fair share of state and local funding … leav(ing) students in high-poverty schools with fewer resources than schools attended by their wealthier peers.”
Those data sets powerfully raise the question that “reformers” are so desperate to avoid: Are we really expected to believe that it’s just a coincidence that the public education and poverty crises are happening at the same time? Put another way: Are we really expected to believe that everything other than poverty is what’s causing problems in failing public schools?...
Think first about how the dominant policy paradigms in America — tax cuts for the rich, deregulation and budget cuts to social services — exacerbate inequality and poverty, but also benefit the major corporations that fund the “reform” movement. Then think about how it isn’t a coincidence that the “reform” movement’s goal is to divert the education policy conversation away from anything having to do with poverty and economic inequality.It has been a long-established fact in Education Research that the socio-economic status (SES) of a child's family will exert a determinative influence on the success of that child in school, no matter HOW 'success is measured. In education, at least, ZIP Code is destiny.
HERE he gets SOME of the comeuppance he so richly deserves:
According to Richwine and Biggs, this makes teachers’ total compensation 52 percent higher than fair-market levels and amounts to $120 billion “overcharged” to taxpayers each year.Academic comeuppance is geneerally a little gentler than that received by ordinary folks...Just sayin...
This finding, and previous research by the same authors (Biggs and Richwine 2011), are at odds with a large body of research showing that public school teachers and other government workers have total compensation that is lower—or at least no higher—than that of comparable private-sector workers (see, for example, Allegretto, Corcoran, and Mishel 2004, 2008, 2011; Bender and Heywood 2010; Keefe 2010; Munnell et al. 2011; Schmitt 2010). Furthermore, the “teaching penalty” has grown, as teachers’ and other public-sector workers’ pay has declined relative to that of comparable private-sector workers (Allegretto, Corcoran, and Mishel 2008, 2011; Bender and Heywood 2010).
Rahm Update: Chicago's mayor is determined to bring down the CPS, and blame the poor and marginaslized, while (as we reported last edition) building a basketball center for a PRIVATE Chicago university:
It's been over two weeks since Mayor Emanuel released his plans to build a basketball arena and hotel near McCormick Place that nobody asked for and nobody needs.
It's an economic development scheme that turns logic upside down: he proposes to spend $55 million in property taxes today in order to lose untold millions in property taxes tomorrow.All await the decision of the Mighty Quinn.
Here, read all about it.
It's got to be the dumbest economic development plan in Chicago since Mayor Daley bought Michael Reese Hospital.
You can read about that one, too—if you dare.
Of course, an idea being dumb won't stop Illinois state reps and senators from approving it, as they move heaven and earth to avoid receiving a profanity-laced late-night phone call from our tempestuous mayor.
Looks like we're really going to need that veto, Governor Quinn.