Scott McLeod at Dangerously!Irrelevant put together a video, with computer voices to protect the
innocent naive genuinely ignorant and proudly stupid.
Teachers who watch this may cry as they watch America’s future slip away into the Tide of Mediocrity™ we were warned about, which NCLB mistook for high water. Turn it up so you can hear the full sound effects. That’s the level of mediocrity rising as the “official” fiddles.
W. Edwards Deming researched and wrote a lot about organization managers who don’t really have a clue what is going on in their organizations, and who lack tools to measure employee work, because they lack an understanding of just what products are, what the resources are that are required to make the desirable product, and how to processes that make those products work, or could work better.
That’s education, today.
Should teachers be “held accountable?” Depends. Effective organizations understand that accountability is the flip-side of the coin of authority. Anyone accountable must have the authority to change the things that affect product, for which that person is “held accountable.” Texas schools lose up to 45 days a year to testing — that may drop as the TAKS test is phased out, but it won’t drop enough. 45 days is, effectively 25% of the school year. If time-on-task is important to education as Checker Finn used to badger us at the Department of Education, then testing is sucking valuable resources from education, way above and beyond any benefits testing may offer.
Today, Texas Governor Rick Perry has proposed laws sitting on his desk that would greatly pare back unnecessary testing. A coalition of businessmen (no women I can discern) with a deceptively-named organization urges Perry to veto the bills, because, they claim, rigor in education can only be demonstrated by a tsunami of tests.
What’s that, you ask? Where is the person concerned about the student? She’s the woman with the leaky classroom, who is being shown the door.
Why is it those with authority to change things for the better in Texas schools, and many other school systems throughout the U.S., are not being held accountable? If they won’t use their authority to make things better, why not give that authority to the teachers?
Check out McLeod’s blog — good comments on his video there.
- A Sound Vision for Improving the Teaching Profession (dianeravitch.net)
- On Common Core: The Leading Groups Are Wrong Again (dianeravitch.net)
- TAKS trouble: Some students still need to pass tests to graduate (star-telegram.com)
- Should Iowa teacher pay be tied to student test scores? (siouxcityjournal.com)
- Fixing Standardized Tests (apt11d.com)
- Unwrapping New York State’s New “Common Core” Tests (andreagabor.com)
- How Arbitrary is NCLB? (dianeravitch.net)
- AM News: Republican Alternative to Follow Harkin NCLB Proposal (scholasticadministrator.typepad.com)
- A Nation at Risk (lucasrumler.wordpress.com)
- A Nation at Risk at 30: Where did it take us? (NEAToday)
- The actual report in .pdf: A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform – A Report to the Nation, and to the Secretary of Education, by the National Commission on Excellence in Education, April 1983
- Glenn T. Seaborg was a Nobel winner in physics, and a member of the Excellence in Education Commission; he wrote this assessment after ten years, in 1993, “A Nation at Risk Revisited”