Today, November 1, 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will be releasing the Spring 2011 test results for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Yes, DC isn’t a state; it’s more like a core-center city with little self-governing power. But that’s how they will report the data.
I very much wonder how DC will do in comparison to prior years. I will be very surprised if there are large changes one way or the other.
My prediction is that Michelle Rhee’s supposed “miracle” won’t have done much.
- All of those firings produced no miracles that I can see. Using weird, rigid mechanical rubrics and protocols in hiring utterly inexperienced, though initially enthusiastic, teachers will not have produced a sudden jump in student test scores on the one test (the NAEP) that so far has supposedly not been cheated on by anybody.
- “Peeling off” nearly half of your students and dumping them (so to speak) into charter schools run by private groups instead of a well-run central public educational system won’t have made a huge change, either. Notice that it’s the ones running the school system who are pushing this, in essence saying, “I don’t know how to run a system of schools. Let me run it anyway, and I’ll prove how incompetent I am by refusing to take responsibility for actually educating 40% of my students. I’ll let some private group try it, because we can’t try any experiments under my system. Except that we ARE trying a huge experiment in education, right now. It’s called national “merit” pay or “pay for grades” for teachers. No other country in the world does ANYTHING that the Educational DEformers of America are pushing. And it has not had any good results, despite all of their bluster.
- The demonization and demoralizing of teachers, surprise, surprise, didn’t cause a huge jump in students’ scores. Forcing the teachers all to follow a script hasn’t worked any huge jumps in anything, anywhere, either.
- Disenfranchisement of the local population by not allowing local elected school boards, as representatives of the local population, have any say whatever in local school p0licy, and other upheavals have wrought, hasn’t had a big positive effect on public education in even a single one of the cities that have tried it.**
What I hear and read is that the NAEP is suposedly the one reasonably fair test written by, administered by, and analyzed by relatively impartial experts hired and protected by the fact that they work for the Federal government and have civil service jobs.
As opposed to all the other tests which are administered across the USA. From what we have learned, those tests, like the DC-CAS, consist quite often of questions written by low-paid temporary workers. The company itself who took on the contract to write just about all of the state NCLB tests, the SATs, the ACT, and almost all of the other ones as well, have made millions or billions of dollars on the rapid expansion of our national testing mania. But all the multiple-choice testing in the world won’t improve something all by itself. In fact, it’s sucking up an enormous amount of money and energy that could be used much more effectively elsewhere in the national educational endeavor. A baby doesn’t get taller or heavier because you put it on a scale every five minutes. It gets larger, and grows, because you feed it, you keep it clean and warm, you play with it and love it, and let it sleep and play and look around at things and try to grab them or stand up. None of which it can do while it keeps getting measured… Even if the scale works (which many of ours actually don’t)…
It occurs to me that if anybody was complaining about the lack of democracy in this whole top-down educational DEform process, their voices weren’t being heard very much, not even by myself. But it seems to me that in the current situation having real voter input in any form is seen by many folks as a Bad Thing because the voters are supposedly stupid and vote against their own interests. It seems to me that it’s something else: we have a corrupt body politic, where the very wealthiest and most unprincipled and most conniving and selfish and powerful folks can easily put together all of the parts of a very, very persuasive, yet utterly mendacious, set of advertisements in one form or another, to push public policy in one direction or the other — and those directions are ALWAYS towards the interest of these in-groups, and usually NOT in favor of the interests of the out-groups, such as low-income or middle-class black families, hispanic families, white families, immigrants from just about anywhere, or any other ethno-social group that I may have missed.
From controlling the editorial AND journalistic pages of the NYT, WSJ, WaPo, as well as whoever it is that really runs and controls the direction of Fox and all the other network TV stations, to the folks who run NPR and the rest of radio news;
From running both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as running all of the major banks, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, boards of directors or boards of trustees of fancy private schools, public or private colleges, and public or private universities, to making large political donations to groups that can favor their interests, the US and international ruling classes do, in fact, an excellent job of misleading the public. They have had lots of practice at it, and they are rich enough that they can hire the best liars and propagandists in the entire known world in order to get their message out. Regardless of its relation to the truth.
**Eliminating neighborhood public schools as a local meeting and place of community — for those that live in the inner cities — funny that this sort of disenfranchisement once again gets aimed at America’s darker-skinned folks?
It happened before, as we all know.
In fact, a book I just read, Slavery by Another Name, shows in utterly nauseating and horrifying detail the extent to which powerful Southern interests, all white, of course, utterly reversed the results of the Civil War and essentially re-enslaved virtually the entire black population of the South, which is where the overwhelming number of blacks lived until relatively recently. Let us remember how much these racist whites made no bones about it: they were NOT going to allow blacks to have any freedom whatsoever, not even to own any land or the fruits of their own labor. They would work, as slaves, for no compensation whatsoever, under ridiculously flimsy pretense of having committed some imaginary crime. There were lots of beatings for supposedly not working hard enough. Even though the amount of labor was enough to kill a full-grown, healthy man within a month…
And all of the black citizens who had earned the right to vote because of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, had every single one of their civil rights taken away, supposedly because they were an inferior people.