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A funny, scary 'education' conversation

NOTE: Baldeagleization has two videos at YouTube.

by Valerie Strauss

Here is an amusing but scary video [by baldeagleization] that shows two toy figures in a conversation that tells you everything you need to know about what is driving school reform today: a nonsensical obsession with assessment and data that has brought a rigidity to classes that makes real teaching and learning impossible.

Some of the dialogue:

Male figure: Let's begin today's collaborative planning meeting with successes and challenges. Who would like to volunteer some successes? You are all required to volunteer successes.

Female voice: My students are not understanding verse structure. We have been working on it for three days....

Male voice: That is not a success. You need to mention a success for this week.

Female voice: There have not been any this week. Today is Tuesday and Monday was a holiday.

Male voice: See, it was not hard to find a success. Stop being so negative and we can get more done. Does anyone have a challenge to volunteer?

Female voice: I have a challenge. My students are not understanding verse structure.

Male voice: How do you know that they don't understand? Where is your test data?

Female voice: I haven't given the test yet but i know they donât understand the material.

Male voice: Then how do you know they don't understand?

Female voice: They told me.

Male voice: But if you don't give the assessment how can you know where your students are?

Female voice: They told me they don't understand what I am talking about. The students raised their hands said we do not understand verse structure. They also presented a notarized petition and held a press conference. They compared last night's homework to translating the Bhagavad GÄ«tÄ into Klingon from its native Sanskrit then translated a passage in front of me to show it is less difficult...

Male voice: But if you don't give the assessment how can you know where your students are?

Female voice: Fine. I gave a test. They scored a negative 38 percent.

Male voice: That is a low score. They definitely donât understand verse structure. Have you taught verse structure?.......

There's a lot more. Take a look. It's hysterical. And frightening.

— Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Answer Sheet





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