Sunday, December 21


Sam Smith

If we're going to insist on judging our children primarily by how well they score on tests, we should probably do the same for education secretary nominees. The problem is that it spoils the fantasy that the major media has been creating around Arne Duncan. Still, turnabout is fair play, so here are a few of the results.

Duncan was named head of the Chicago schools the middle of 2001. The following results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress cover 2002-2007. To summarize what has happened in Chicago schools: not much. Bear in mind, that even where there has been improvement, it has amounted to less than a 1% increase in test scores over a five year period.

Fourth grade reading

Scores were 3 points higher in 2007 compared with 2005 and 8 points higher than in 2002. Total change: less than one half of one percent.

The 2007 score was lower than that of public schools in large central cities

Eighth grade reading

Scores were one point higher than in 2002.

Fourth grade math

Between 2003 and 2007 scores rose 6 points, or less than three tenths of a percent.

The scores in Chicago rose only 2 more points than in the state of Illinois at large.

Black students gained 6 points, Hispanics 2 points, and whites nine points.

Eighth grade math

Scores rose 5 points in Chicago and 7 points nationwide between 2003 and 2007

Blacks gained 2 points, latinos gained 6 points and whites gained 11 points.

Duncan - like DC's school chancellor Michelle Rhee - has fostered a dysfunctional rightwing, corporatized system of education that not only isn't working, it is damaging our children as it trains them to be obedient worker-drones incapable of analyzing or understanding what is really going on about them. This system is being enabled by the same media that for three decades enabled a dysfunctional rightwing, corporatized economic system that finally collapsed in 2008.

The dangers of this system include:

- Teaching our children only to give the right answers and not to ask the right questions.

- Grossly limiting education to fact accumulation and basic manipulation of data, leaving little time for analysis, creativity, judgment, philosophy, gaining social intelligence, as well as learning about, and participating in, the non-mechanical aspects of life such as art, theater and music. This system deliberately teaches our children not to think.

- Through the use of charter schools, turning public education into what was known in earlier times as pauper schools.

- Damaging communities by destroying schools, institutions that not only served students but their parents and provided commonality in ever more atomized urban areas.


At 4:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Executive Order and John F. Kennedy 10925,1961! Justice for both advantaged and disadvantaged !Renaissance 2010 and Duncan ? From Public investment to a private good,answerable not to the demands and values of a democratic society but to the imperatives of the market place.End the mandates on NCLB,it's not working ! The dismantling of democratically elected local officials ? Subcontracted for profit companies ? Jump ball half court ! Radical socialism vs decentralization ? Public Education on Zone !We'll welcome the debate and go find Hillary Clinton ! He's not like radical Rhee is he ? Uh oh ! Do The Orginal Hampster Dance !Has Mr. Duncan read Manufactured Crisis ?

At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DEBATE IS ON ! Ball in play and Public Education scores ! Hooray !The mandates on NCLB end and take that rat 10% with you, dead in the trap !Woosh,didn't even touch the net ! When they're taller, shoot the ball from the outside !Punitive law that uses flawed standardized tests to label schools as failures and punish them with counter productive sanctions,assessment and accountability.Obama indicated that there are not enough resources in NCLB to meet what is to be measured realistically;teachers were not involved in crafting this legislation;and modifications are needed on how we make assessments.See Voices Across America question #1 ! 2 out of 10 Americans believe the NCLB should continue without significant change.Under funding tops the biggest problems for the sixth year in a row. Phi Delta Kappa & Gallop ! See Monty Neil @ Fair Test and he's got more research and so do all the states weighing in on NCLB and reauthorization.See the Forum For Education and Democracy ! Dr. Woods,Linda Hammond and Noguera ! They're making sense in education but all this radical reform ? Off the hook operationally and proceedually out of control.Stragetic planning and we'll be watching Mr. Duncan's executive direction and the 14th Amendment along with our Federal laws !

At 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spare us the Paid Paradise Put Up A Parking Lot !See PISA and TIMSS results and Finland is scoring and Sweden is academically a tough team to play.We need to team up and get this fuss straightened out ! Out of 40 countries the US is 19th in reading,20th in reading and 28th in math. Higher order learning=funding centrally and equally. Does the general public realize how many law suits NCLB has created for states ? Duncan has a degree in sociology ? What was the PAT program all about ? Linking teacher bonuses to student test scores and other incentive-pay provisions under Pl 107-110 a law unfunded ? Not to mention Connecticut and they sued the federal government for funds needed to maintain sophisticated performance. Dept. said drop the testing.A hidden curriculum is that testing be used a ploy to de-skill teachers. GS115C-321 ? One fire truck and marching band to you Washington !Corporatism,deception cloaked in the language of Civil Rights. Right wing efforts to disinvest and govern with corporate interests. Enter the educational reformer under NCLB and 10%.David labaree rightly argues,public schools have been under attack in the last decade. By the way,there is a skunk loose on that Rhee proposed contractual terms of agreement and see Abolishment Statute and pray declaratory relief !

At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me,20th in Science !Public Education rises from the ashes and makes come back.


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