Saturday, October 9, 2010

The triumvirate of so-called school reform

The triumvirate of so-called school reform: Testing, Accountability, Market-Driven School Choice.

These are not ideas to fix schools.  In fact, they are ideas that have nothing to do with education.  They are the ultimate do-nothing solution.

Testing – is Monday morning quarterbacking.  After the year is long over and teachers can do nothing to help a child re-learn concepts that she didn’t get, pundits look at the test scores and say… “yep, you didn’t do so well.”  It’s like a fan telling the quarterback he shouldn’t have thrown left cause the ball got intercepted.  Easy call – after the play is over.

Accountability – “Shame on you for not doing well with last years children.  You better do better this year, or else…”  The next set of kids walk in the door with entirely new needs and skills.  They bear no relation to the kids who have left the past June.  Sure, if we take the average for the city or the nation, we see similarities, but those averages mean nothing when one teacher looks at 32 new shiny faces.  It’s like that same football fan assuming that next weeks opponent will be just like last week’s. 

Market-Driven School Choice – “Let’s that group, or that person open a charter school.  If she or he has a better idea, then parents/customers will flock there, if not, then that school will fail and close.”  Here politicians and pundits really show their colors.  THEY DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA AS TO HOW TO FIX THE PERFORMANCE GAP OR IMPORVE EDUCCATION OR EVEN RAISE TEST SCORES; THEY WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT FOR THEM.

That’s their plan – do nothing.  No knew idea.  No help.  Just Monday morning quarterback, shame and blame, and wait for someone else to solve the problem for them.

That’s their big idea.  That’s what they think Public Education Reform looks like.

I wish I could get paid big bucks to stand on the sideline, tell the ones who are really working what they’re doing wrong after it is too late to fix anything and after it is obvious to anyone with eyes that something went wrong; wag my finger at them, and hope someone else comes up with a better idea…

No wait.  I don’t want that job.  I’ve got too much self-respect and too much love for kids.  I think I’ll stick with trying to actually make public education better.

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