« (Un) Heartbreaking Links of Staggering Genius | Main | Schools Restructuring under NCLB: Blow ‘em up Good? »

COWAbunga Award!

| 5 Comments
cowabunga-award.jpg
This week's COWAbunga Award goes to two comments that explain why medicine and education have followed very different paths when it comes to accountability. The first comment is from eiela, a teacher librarian:
I think the reason we don't want to inject the idea that student achievement is based partly on what [students] come to school with (parent support, poverty rates, etc.) into the NCLB debate is because it comes too close to admitting that our public education system doesn't help everyone equally. And that education does give everyone the same advantages is one of our cherished public ideals....We don't want to admit that there are problems that are too big for education as it exists right now to fix.

I've often wished that if I am going to be held so accountable for student performance that we had a boarding school system, so I could make sure my students had a quiet place to do homework, a good dinner and breakfast, etc....I like the idea of value-added assessments; we get value-added scores for each classroom teacher in my state. I wish that NCLB took those scores into account....I know one year, our value-added scores were great, yet we still didn't make AYP because our students were so far behind to begin with. It's very demoralizing to be labeled in the news as a failing school when you've made so much progress based on where the students started.
The second winner is Erin Johnson, who, in a series of comments, made compelling arguments about the differences in the evidence bases for educational and medical practice. Read them all here, and here's a tasty morsel from one of them:
The development of medicine and education was not random. Both were a function of very specific decisions made by key opinion leaders and laws passed both on the state and federal levels....We take for granted the the scientific, evidentary basis of our medical system, but it was not pre-ordained to be so.
5 Comments

Wow! Thanks!

Interesting point.

I would also add that education fails to follow medicines path (excuse the lack of apostrophe . . . my keyboard is not working): using research to drive its (sic) decision making.

So instead of looking at what really works, education continues looking towards increased funding, learning styles, and other solutions that have been shown to have limited or no effect.

Until educators are interested in using methods that are proven to work, they will get the same results.

Thanks, eduwonkette.

Rockymountaindad, Education is not monolithic and is is not possible for all stakeholders to suddenly "wake up" and start using quality materials. Improvement in education requires a quality system with feedback to determine if any/all changes actually resulted in improvements.

Our educational system is completely dysfunctional and excels only in passing the blame for not improving around (with it ususally ending up erroneously on the backs of our teachers.)

It is not enough for educators to want to use good materials, the system itself needs to be set up to encourage and provide teachers useful and timely information about what works (or what doesn't).


Erin,

I'm not sure the information needs to be all that timely. Research has been around for decades (e.g., Follow Through) about what works (DI) and what doesn't (social services, open classrooms, etc.). The education establishment just continues to ignore the research and use what they think will work (e.g., whole language).

But yes . . . the system does need to support efforts to provide superior instruction. Unfortunately, efforts in this area are not rewarded, and are sometimes discouraged as they make everyone else look bad.

It would be great if it worked. We'd probably spend a lot less on prisons.

Rockymountaindad, The lack of follow-through (pun intended) on the DI research is tragic but rather predictable.

Our schools are not set up to incorporate quality data or research. This is not the fault of the educational establishment, per se, but the lack of any school procedures for evaluating/improving all the critical aspects of schooling (curricula, teaching and assessements).

But even if schools did use the DI information, a school system that is designed to improve never does just one study.

Improvement comes from the continual re-examination of current practices, materials and techniques to see how well they are aligning with overall expectations. Improvement comes from setting goals, suggesting and implementing improvements and then evaluating whether those improvements worked. And this needs to be done on a system-wide, continual basis.

Unfortunately our schools are designed to continue the status quo, so thus the status quo continues.

Comments are now closed for this post.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Erin Johnson: Rockymountaindad, The lack of follow-through (pun intended) on the DI read more
  • rockymountaindad: Erin, I'm not sure the information needs to be all read more
  • Erin Johnson: Thanks, eduwonkette. Rockymountaindad, Education is not monolithic and is is read more
  • rockymountaindad: Interesting point. I would also add that education fails to read more
  • eiela: Wow! Thanks! read more

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

8th grade retention
Fordham Foundation
The New Teacher Project
Tim Daly
absent teacher reserve
absent teacher reserve

accountability
accountability in Texas
accountability systems in education
achievement gap
achievement gap in New York City
acting white
admissions
AERA
AERA annual meetings
AERA conference
AERJ
Alexander Russo
Algebra II
American Association of University Women
American Education Research Associatio
American Education Research Association
American Educational Research Journal
American Federation of Teachers
Andrew Ho
Art Siebens
ATR
Baltimore City Public Schools
Barack Obama
Bill Ayers
black-white achievement gap
books
books on educational research
boy crisis
brain-based education
Brian Jacob
bubble kids
Building on the Basics
Cambridge Education
carnival of education
Caroline Hoxby
Caroline Hoxby charter schools
cell phone plan
charter schools
Checker Finn
Chicago
Chicago shooting
Chicago violence
Chris Cerf
class size
Coby Loup
college access
cool people you should know
credit recovery
curriculum narrowing
D3M
Dan Willingham
data driven
data-driven decision making
data-driven decision-making
David Cantor
DC
Dean Millot
demographics of schoolchildren
Department of Assessment and Accountability
Department of Education budget
desegregation
Diplomas Count
disadvantages of elite education
do schools matter
Doug Ready
Doug Staiger
dropout factories
dropout rate
dropouts
education books
education policy
education policy thinktanks
educational equity
educational research
educational triage
effects of neighborhoods on education
effects of No Child Left Behind
effects of schools
effects of Teach for America
elite education
ETS
Everyday Antiracism
excessed teachers
exit exams
experienced teachers
Fordham and Ogbu
Fordham Foundation
Frederick Douglass High School
Gates Foundation
gender
gender and education
gender and math
gender and science and mathematics
gifted and talented
gifted and talented admissions
gifted and talented program
gifted and talented programs in New York City
girls and math
good schools
graduate student union
graduation rate
graduation rates
guns in Chicago
health benefits for teachers
High Achievers
high school
high school dropouts
high school exit exams
high school graduates
high school graduation rate
high-stakes testing
high-stakes tests and science
higher ed
higher education
highly effective teachers
Houston Independent School District
how to choose a school
IES
incentives in education
Institute for Education Sciences
is teaching a profession?
is the No Child Left Behind Act working
Jay Greene
Jim Liebman
Joel Klein
John Merrow
Jonah Rockoff
Kevin Carey
KIPP
KIPP and boys
KIPP and gender
Lake Woebegon
Lars Lefgren
leaving teaching
Leonard Sax
Liam Julian

Marcus Winters
math achievement for girls
McGraw-Hill
meaning of high school diploma
Mica Pollock
Michael Bloomberg
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee teacher contract
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Klonsky
Mike Petrilli
narrowing the curriculum
National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education
NCLB
neuroscience
new teachers
New York City
New York City bonuses for principals
New York City budget
New York City budget cuts
New York City Budget cuts
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education Truth Squad
New York City ELA and Math Results 2008
New York City gifted and talented
New York City Progress Report
New York City Quality Review
New York City school budget cuts
New York City school closing
New York City schools
New York City small schools
New York City social promotion
New York City teacher experiment
New York City teacher salaries
New York City teacher tenure
New York City Test scores 2008
New York City value-added
New York State ELA and Math 2008
New York State ELA and Math Results 2008
New York State ELA and Math Scores 2008
New York State ELA Exam
New York state ELA test
New York State Test scores
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
passing rates
Pearson
picking a school
press office
principal bonuses
proficiency scores
push outs
pushouts
qualitative educational research
qualitative research in education
quitting teaching
race and education
racial segregation in schools
Randall Reback
Randi Weingarten
Randy Reback
recovering credits in high school
Rick Hess
Robert Balfanz
Robert Pondiscio
Roland Fryer
Russ Whitehurst
Sarah Reckhow
school budget cuts in New York City
school choice
school effects
school integration
single sex education
skoolboy
small schools
small schools in New York City
social justice teaching
Sol Stern
SREE
Stefanie DeLuca
stereotype threat
talented and gifted
talking about race
talking about race in schools
Teach for America
teacher effectiveness
teacher effects
teacher quailty
teacher quality
teacher tenure
teachers
teachers and obesity
Teachers College
teachers versus doctors
teaching as career
teaching for social justice
teaching profession
test score inflation
test scores
test scores in New York City
testing
testing and accountability
Texas accountability
TFA
The No Child Left Behind Act
The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains
thinktanks in educational research
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Tom Kane
Tweed
University of Iowa
Urban Institute study of Teach for America
Urban Institute Teach for America
value-addded
value-added
value-added assessment
Washington
Wendy Kopp
women and graduate school science and engineering
women and science
women in math and science
Woodrow Wilson High School