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View Diary: Rhee and the Corporate Takeover of Public Education (167 comments)

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  •  The problem (34+ / 0-)

    The problem here is that there are decades of research demonstrating that standardized tests do not work. There is no correlation between doing well on standardized tests and success later. In fact in some research, there is a negative correlation.  It all seems so reasonable on the surface, but the national standards rhetoric is part of the snake oil.
    For a review of the research please see:

    There is, however, a positive correlation between doing well on these tests and shallow engagement. See Judith L. Meece, Phyllis C. Blumenfeld, and Rick H. Hoyle, “Students’ Goal Orientations and Cognitive Engagement in Classroom Activities,  Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 80, 1988, pp. 514-23.  The correlation was .28, significant at p<.001.

    The real problem is the so-called "achievement gap." When the scores of the 25% of children, mostly of color, who live in poverty, are controlled for, America is actually near the very top internationally, right up there with China and Finland.

    More standards and more testing are not going to fix the achievement gap because it doesn't address problems the real physical and medical obstacles that low-income children face: 50% have vision problems, untreated ear infections lead to hearing loss resulting in slow reading development, blood level of lead five times that of middle class kids, asthma, twice the rate low birth weights which contributes to learn disabilities, and on and on and on.

    •  Its worse than that (15+ / 0-)

      Standardized testing destroys critical thinking skills, because 'successful' students learn to game tests by answering questions based on what they percieve as the testers expectations.

      It also destroys writing skills, because students don't learn how to compose their own thoughts, they learn how to fill in the little circles.

      This is monkey work.  It stupifies the thinking process and by the time they get to college, too many have not even begun to learn how to think for themselves, let alone compose a complex thought and put it down on paper.

      This is all about information control and corporate domestication of the public.  As a commentator upthread noted, this is about 'human husbandry'.

      Reason #3 why I will not be voting for Obama again (after the neglect of joblessness and addiction to imperial war).

      •  For whom would you vote? I ask in part (4+ / 0-)

        because I have been saying that I wouldn't vote for Obama again either, and my partner has been giving me hell about it.  As she points out-- and it's a compelling point to make-- voting for an alternative progressive or socialist candidate would be tantamount, in our screwed-up two-party system, to not voting at all.

        However, as I shoot back-- and I think this is an equally cogent point-- our screwed-up two-party system no longer represents me even when I vote for the Democratic presidential candidate.  

        And then we bicker some more.  It's all very difficult.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 11:54:45 AM PDT

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        •  Why Do You Have to Vote for Someone? (1+ / 0-)
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          I probably won't vote for President in 2012, but I'll vote for all the local school and environmental issues.  I'm kind of done with national politics and politicians in general.  Not only are many of them disingenuous opportunists, they are just plain boring.

          •  As you point out, voting locally is key (1+ / 0-)
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            to making change.  

            But your point also seems to be that voting nationally doesn't matter.  In my state at least, it certainly can make a big difference to vote in national elections.  Sherrod Brown is one of my senators because I helped vote him in.  I can't say that I find him boring, nor that I think irrelevant whatever work he might manage to do to represent me.

            That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

            by concernedamerican on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 01:34:30 PM PDT

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            •  I really understand the frustration... (2+ / 0-)
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              mightymouse, concernedamerican

              ...with POTUS and his de facto continuation of the dismantling of Public Education.

              I don't have a satisfactory response for anyone that feels that way. But as we approach the Spring of 2012, I have the sneaking suspicion that Arne Duncan will have parachuted out of the Cabinet, and be replaced by someone who would actually attempt to partner with front line educators.

              The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

              by Egalitare on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 02:49:31 PM PDT

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        •  Neoliberalism is killing this party (1+ / 0-)
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          This administration serves nobody but the bankers, wall street and the war industry.  He threw everyone in economic danger under a bus - in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression - while he threw trillions to save the super-rich and the corporate cabal. This neoliberal approach is poisoning the well for everyone with a 'd' after their name.

          We voted for the party of Roosevelt and the memory of MLK, but we got the party of Coolidge instead.

          I'm sorry, but neoliberalism is a poison that is destroying this party and this country and it needs to be stamped out as a legitimate political ideology.  Nixon was a leftist radical compared to the trash in Obama's administration.

          I can't vote for that, I won't vote for that and I believe we need to bury this terrible economic, social and economimc/military philosophy in the dung heap of history.  Even if that means a split vote that leads to a Republican victory.

          That's not my preference, but I won't tolerate this crap any longer.  I won't vote for it.  Obama needs to find his 'inner Roosevelt' and start serving our needs. He can start by heaving his cabinet into the Potomac and put some real democrats in charge.

          Hype, charm and fearmongering won't work on me any more. If it ain't about jobs, living wages, protection from predatory bankers, real mortgage reform, real education reform and an end to the supremacist ambitions of the 'American Empire', it ain't my party.  And I won't be dancing.

          Nobody needs 2 republican parties. One is bad enough.  If Obama doesn't start acting like a New Deal Democrat, we need a candidate who will.

    •  Gotta disagree with part of that. (0+ / 0-)

      Totally agree that poor school districts are screwed. Here in NY State, Gov. Cuomo is eviscerating school aid using a formula that hurts the poorest schools far more than the wealthiest. Meet the new boss...

      However, a standard benchmark for assessing academic acheivement is not evil incarnate. It amazes me how vehemently teachers lash out at any attempt to assess the quality of their work. Every other field has to deal with accountability at some point. Why not teaching?

      Thirty years back there actually was a pretty darn strong corrolation between performance on SAT/ACT testing and academic success in college. The percentage of students going on to college was lower, and while you could very fairly criticize the tests as being very white and very suburban, scores did predict success in college rather accurately.

      Of course, that was then. As U.S. students slumped against foreign competition the SAT has been repeatedly rejiggered and reformulated, 200 points arbitrarily added to everyone's score, nebulous essay responses incorporated...with the result that it's now useless for assessing capability or predicting future academic acheivement.

      It's not testing per se that's the problem. It's that currently available tests suck so bad. Yes, 'teaching to the test is bad, it's not creative, it only measures a tiny domain', and yadda yadda yadda. But there has to be some measure of performance. Otherwise what, if anything, are we accomplishing?

      As a physician I take tests repeatedly to prove my competence. I have to recertify every 6 years which involves lots of testing. I have to take infection control tests every year. Patient safety tests periodically. This is a good thing!

      •  If we tested (0+ / 0-)

        patients on their health after receiving treatment and then rated the doctor accordingly would you think that is fair?  You would use the same arguement that teachers are using.  There are many variables at play in a patients health.  It would not be fair to judge the doctor on the general health of the patient.

        And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

        by tobendaro on Sat Apr 02, 2011 at 05:48:42 PM PDT

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        •  Insurers already have patients grade us. (1+ / 0-)
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          The largest commercial insurer in our market withholds 10% of our pay, and report-cards from patients are a large fraction of the scoring that determines how much is returned to us. And I'm fine with that. It is indeed a sensible way to get at some aspects of quality. How long do we keep patients waiting? Do we treat them with respect?

          Patients are often very good judges of quality of care. They can instantly tell the difference between a physician who really cares about them, who is diligent on their behalf, and one who keeps checking his watch. They may not be up on the technical details, but outcomes measures and hospital statistics can capture that kind of data.

          There are valid statistical methods for evaluating how healthy or sickly a physician's panel of patients is (known as 'case mix ratio'), which corrects for such variables and permits reasonably accurate quality evaluations comparing physician quality. Do doctors like this? Of course not. Nobody likes being graded and held accountable for their work. But at the end of the day, it's the key to improving quality.

          Anything less is an evasion of accountability.

          •  "variables and permits (0+ / 0-)

            reasonably accurate quality evaluations"  That is not what is happening in education.  The other variables are not being included in evaluation.  You are being evaluated on one procedure and it is addressed accordingly.  Teachers are being evaluated on a child's general intellect and being blamed for low progress despite the myriad of variables that make a student successfull or not able to perform.
                 If you were blamed for an obese patient's problems and then paid less because there is no progress in the patients overall health your situation would be similar to what teachers are facing.

            And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

            by tobendaro on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 06:50:42 AM PDT

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            •  We have case mix ratio... (0+ / 0-)

              The same kind of correction can be applied to grading teachers. You obviously cannot expect at teacher with a class full of 'english as second language' students, kids from single parent households on their fourth generation of fossilized poverty to get the same kind of outcomes she'd get with a class full of affluent college-bound kids who bring their own laptops to class.

              •  But there is the problem. (0+ / 0-)

                That is exactly what they are expecting.  Kids with problems are lumped into scores with all other kids and then teachers are getting blamed.   Btw, teachers are evaluated and always have been.  By several different methods.  The testing we see now is an added evaluation and exists only to prove that we should not be paying for public schools because they don't work.  It is a scam to get money for education into private hands.

                And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

                by tobendaro on Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 06:46:51 AM PDT

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