September 2016 Archives

While the ESSA unquestionably requires the states to administer yearly assessments in mathematics and reading, it does not actually require 95% student participation on those tests. Instead, as currently written, it requires 95% student participation on some other, completely different set of nonexistent assessments. Congress might want to consider hiring a few more proofreaders.


It seems that the promoters of "kids who fail have to be smacked upside the head with their shortcomings" have hit on a recycled tactical meme every educator is familiar with: using "social promotion" as a boogeyman to drive home the point that some kids just don't deserve to move ahead to a new grade. With their peers and friends.


I can't help wondering what would happen if the question were phrased as a constructed response. What if we asked parents, childless millennials or retirees: What's the purpose of public education? Why do we collect taxes and build buildings and elect school boards and argue about phonics vs. whole language? What's the end game?


We've got information and images a-plenty, if we want to look at states which might have some educational moxie. Teachers are now talking to each other across district and state boundaries, sharing information about how education policy is impacting their daily practice, where market-based reforms have the deepest roots and where teachers' judgment and experience is most devalued. Where would YOU go, if you could go anywhere, as an educator?


This seems to be the long-term outcome of being attacked on our own soil: more division, self-indulgence, and deepening racial fault lines. Winners and losers. To hell with unity or even civil behavior--dominance has become our national goal, our trickle-down response to all conflict.


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