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NCLB Outrages

What Passes for School Reform: "Value-Added" Teacher Evaluation and Other Absurdities

You can comment on this piece at Huffington Post.

by Alfie Kohn

The less people know about teaching and learning, the more sympathetic they're likely to be to the kind of "school reform" that's all the rage these days. Look, they say, some teachers (and schools) are lousy, aren't they? And we want kids to receive a better education -- including poor kids, who typically get the short end of the stick, right? So let's rock the boat a little! Clean out the dead wood, close down the places that don't work, slap public ratings on these suckers just like restaurants that have to display the results of their health inspections.

On my sunnier days, I manage to look past the ugliness of the L.A. Times's unconscionable public shaming of teachers who haven't "added value" to their students, the sheer stupidity and arrogance of Newsweek's cover story on the topic last spring, the fact that the editorials and columns about education in every major newspaper in the U.S. seem to have been written by the same person, all reflecting an uncritical acceptance of the Bush-Obama-Gates version of school reform.

I try to put it all down to mere ignorance and tamp down darker suspicions about what's going on. If I squeeze my eyes tightly, I can almost see how a reasonable person, someone who doesn't want to widen the real gap between the haves and have-nots (which is what tends to happen when attention is focused on the gap in test scores), might look at what's going on and think that it sounds like common sense.

Unfortunately, . . . Read the rest of Alfie's commentary here.

— Alfie Kohn
Huffington Post
2010-09-09
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/what-passes-for-school-re_b_710696.html


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