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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-03 08:06 PM
Original message
The accountability trap:
Edited on Sat Sep-20-03 11:25 PM by Skinner
Finally, we're seeing the media report what teachers have known all, if only we could get this in a major newspaper....

August 2, 2003When Republicans praise No Child Left Behind, they talk about measuring student progress, holding schools accountable, and giving parents choice. When Democrats criticize it, they talk about unfunded mandates, broken funding promises, and states in fiscal crisis.

As the consequences of NCLB emerge, it is time to talk about the real issues: what schools are being held accountable for, and what the unfunded mandates actually require. The law deals in such obscure jargon that the truth can be difficult ferret out. The more one learns, however, the more one understands why National Education Association President Reg Weaver calls Bush's education policy a "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" that will "pave the way for vouchers and privatization."

Simply put, NCLB holds public schools accountable for perfection. By the year 2014, 100 percent of students in every state must score "proficient" on state tests. People often assume that the 100 percent requirement is somehow figurative, that it is merely a lofty goal towards which to strive. In fact, the 100 percent requirement is the linchpin of a rigid accountability formula that will impose dangerous sanctions on great numbers of schools.

Under this formula, annual targets begin low but rise quickly to unrealistic levels. In Washington, D.C., for instance, the target for elementary reading in 2003 was 32 percent proficient, a target met by four out of five D.C. schools. From this baseline, the target climbs to 56 percent proficient in 2006, to 79 percent in 2010, and finally to the magical 100 percent in 2014. In every state, because of the way the formula works, every target will be challenging for the average school within a few years and, in the absence of rapid improvement, beyond the reach of most schools by the end of the decade.

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Wwagsthedog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-03 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
1. Rote learning
Besides problems noted in the article, one big failing of standardized testing is that it fosters rote learning because teachers are reduced to "teaching the tests". Critical thinking skills will not be encouraged or rewarded leaving most future students and graduates without the ability to be much more than willing members of a big brother type of society. For the ideologues, governing human automatons is a desirable objective.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-19-03 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. And That Is The Whole Idea!
In a generation or so, Diebold will not be needed.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-20-03 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Absolutely.
Up to this point, we haven't been able to get the media to see that the testing program itself is bogus, let alone the mountain of issues with teaching and learning underneath it. And until someone besides a teacher speaks up about it, we won't be able to change it.

If we want parents and the general population to fight with us, someone outside of the system has to be reporting this stuff in major media.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-21-03 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
4. bump
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