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View Diary: American public schools -  still unequal (and racist) after all these years (63 comments)

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  •  Thanks for this insightful diary. On the issues (0+ / 0-)

    regarding outcomes I believe in your dislike for test scores you end up contradicting yourself a bit. The intentions of "separate but equal" are not always inherently racist but their outcomes are; and you make this point quite succintly in the diary. You then correctly point out that it is inputs that we should focus on as they are responsible for these unequal outcomes. But interestingly you then seem to make a case that focusing on results is wrong and the reason is because you conflate results or outcomes with measurement methods such as test scores.Test scores are applicable to Maths and Science etc but are not necessarily the correct measure for other very important subjects and therefore I agree with you that focusing on them will result in killing other enriching subjects. But test scores are not outcomes, they are measures. Hence my charge that you contradict yourself since you have quoted this

    well-crafted considerations of inputs and outputs were mutually reinforcing

    In other words carefully and in a balanced way considering outcomes against inputs is the correct way of solving the problem. Focusing on inputs alone amounts to throwing money at a problem. One has to also think about what outcomes will result from those inputs. Asking the question 'Will children be more educated?' is not the same as asking whether they have passed a standardised test. But it is still imperative to ask the former question if we are to get equal quality education for all.

    If education authoriteis had to work to defined outcomes and were measured on those they would have to put more resources in order to achieve that. But your sentiment seems to be that Governments should just put in money and other resources without demanding desired outcomes.

    I hate test scores and continue to insist that outcomes should not be conflated with measurement methods like them and I am aware that this conflation of the two by those who are leading educational policy at the moment is what is currently irking us. But we can help by creating an enlightened understanding of the subject as you are doing.

    Otherwise I find the dairy most informative and agree with it. Thanks.

    •  I think you misinterpret my reaction to tests (5+ / 0-)

      basing everything on snapshots which are used for high stakes (a) distorts the teaching; (b) does little to inform instruction; (c) does not account for the unequal starting paoints; (d) tells us little about effectiveness of instruction.

      Value-added mesaurement can do a better job of measuring the actual learning, but only if it involves testing students at beginning and end of same year in same classroom setting, otherwise the results are conflating information that is not school-related and which has a large impact.

      What is interesting is that even using the flawed measurement of the kinds of tests to which I and many others raise objections, the points Darling-Hammond makes about inequity are reinforced.  And she makes a compelling argument that application of resources in the right fashion does make a difference in outcomes.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 06:56:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should add something more regarding (1+ / 0-)
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      teacherken

      outcomes. Outcomes of education are broad and timeless. They cannot just be measured by tests scores. Outcomes could include in the short term whether students end up coping with further education; college or vocational. Often you can't measure such an outcome with a test which is why College entrance requirements are also part of the problem although a lot of US Colleges are now using more broad and sophisticated methods of entrance selection which give a lower weighting to test scores. Actually such outcomes can only be fairly measured with longitudinal studies of school alumni and feeding the results back to the school system. Such measures do not place emphasis on a superficial and unfair standard test system which places the responsibility for the outcome squarely on the shoulders of the teacher, the student  and the school. It places the responsibility for the outcome on the system itself and can expose the inadequacy of inputs and policies that create bad outcomes for students.
      There are other long term outcomes that should be measured and the results fed back to the system such as the success of alumni in life itself and the economic impacts of schools within their communities. These methods are used to inform educational policy in the Nordic Countires (Finland,Sweden, Denmark, Iceland , Norway) which explains why their education systems operate largely without standardised national testing. Their focus is on inputs and how produce desired outcomes and they have moved away from the ancient Anglo-Saxon methods of tests and exams which are predicated on Darwinian competition.
      I just thought I should amplify a bit to ensure I don't come off as a hit and run critic who loves test scores.

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