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NCLB Outrages

Replacing No Child Left Behind

On EDDRA, Gerald Bracey commented: It's nice that the President mentions portfolios and a "range of assessments," but what the hell does that mean? I don't know and neither does he. It's nice that he's not locked in to standardized tests--he says--but he doesn't have a plan. If you listen to him on health care or the economy you hear highly articulated details--not surprising since he has a daily briefing with his economic team plus Rahm Emanuel. Obviously, he's not doing that on education.

There is a schiziness in the administration that reflects, I think, a basic ignorance about what's feasible which reflects a basic ignorance about education. Arne says there are lots of bad tests out there--they don't measure higher order thinking skills and stuff. So he'll give money for better tests. Does he have a clue about the technology of such measurements? Or the meaning of "higher order thinking skills" My lower order thinking says, I don't think so.

He also says states need to develop data bases so they can track kids and link kid performance to teacher performance. But what's gonna be in those data bases? Data from those bad old tests that just measure basic, lower order skills in reading and math. That's all we got.

As stated before, these guys don't have a clue.

See robots in education.

By Richard Rothstein

While promoting health-care reform this summer in Green Bay, Wis., President Barack Obama took questions from the audience. One had nothing to do with health, but is on the minds of parents and teachers everywhere: How do we move the focus in education "away from single-day testing and test-driven outcomes?" There was applause.

Mr. Obama responded by saying that if all we are doing is giving standardized tests and teaching to them, "that's not improving our education system." (Again, the audience applauded.) He repeated an aphorism he'd heard in rural Illinois: "Just weighing a pig doesn̢۪t fatten it." (Yet more applause.)

The president then said that we need standardized testing, but that we can't hold schools or teachers accountable for scores alone. We also must look at the quality of students' ongoing work, and observe teachers in their classrooms to make valid judgments about their effectiveness.

This approach undermines the basis of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which now holds schools accountable only for math and reading scores. But recent Washington policy talk seems mostly concerned with improving the accuracy of math and reading tests. One common panacea offered is to compare scores of the same students from one year to the next, rather than comparing students in the same grade in successive years.

Yet even if the statistical technology for such "value added" growth models could be developed (a big "if," given student mobility, the unreliability of a single test, and the nonrandom assignment of students to teachers), this "improvement" would not address the more fundamental issue the president raised: There's more to good education than math and reading scores. . . .
For the rest of the article, which includes some info on A Broader Bolder Approach to Education, you need to go to the Ed Week url below.

— Richard Rothstein with comment by Gerald Bracey
Education Week


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