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I can point you at what I wrote.

If you do not understand what this is about, several days ago I posted So tell me how you might respond.  Something I had written originally at Academe had been posted by Valerie Strauss at her blog at the Washington Post, where it proceeded to go viral.  I had mentioned Jay Mathews in the piece, and he responded with a piece in which he somewhat disagreed with me.

Jay and I will have our own direct back and forth, but in the meantime I chose to accept an invitation from Valerie to write something directly for her blog, which went up today as Teacher questions value of AP program

Unfortunately, I cannot simply crosspost here what I wrote there - it is considered Post content even though I was not paid for it, and I can quote nothing beyond fair use.  To encourage you to read it, let me offer a snippet here:  

The mere fact that a course is labeled AP does not  necessarily make it a college-level course, even if all of the students in that class obtain scores of 5 on the exam. The AP tests, by the way, are given in the beginning of May, when most schools go on for at least an additional month.   In college students do not sit for end-of- course examinations before the end of the course.
Please continue below the squiggle

Let me offer one more snip from what I wrote:

For those who argue as does Jay that students are now better prepared for college than before, I have two responses:
1.  That is not what I am being told by the many college professors who are writing to me.

2.   That is contradicted by the increasing number and percentage of students being required to take non-credit remedial courses, especially in English and Math, in many institutions of higher education.

This new piece is getting some traffic, although it will be no where near the incredible amount of my first piece.  Since I had solicited advise here, I thought it worth while even though I cannot cross-post the piece here to at least draw attention to it and provide a link.

Peace.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I love love love that Mullen bit. EVERY teacher (8+ / 0-)

    should have that memorized, especially when they go to state meetings or panel discussions of "reform" and they open up the floor for questions.

    Have hundreds and thousands of teachers saying the same things and maybe, JUST maybe, people will start to listen.

    Or at least squirm a little.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:26:40 PM PST

    •  sadly Mullen's experience is very telling (9+ / 0-)

      for one thing, he decided not to continue in speaking out after his year NTOY - he was somewhat burned by the experience

      of equal importance, if the National Teacher of the Year will not be taken seriously by those making policy, we have a real problem, and it may be time for civil disobedience or its equivalent to show how bad things are.

      One should follow Diane Ravitch's blog as something essential to keep track of all that is going on.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:30:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, zenbassoon

      Teachers Should Be Seen and Not Heard

      It begins:

      I am a fly on the wall sitting at a table. Seated at a round table are three state governors, one state senator, a Harvard professor and author, and a strange little man who assumes the role of group moderator. The strange little man asks the group to talk about their experiences at the education conference. The ex governor from the South begins to talk about how the traditional school model is not working and the problem of too many teachers who do not understand what they teach. Teachers, he complains, are not prepared to teach in 21st century classrooms because they possess, in his words, "only 20th century skills." He does not provide specific examples or elaborate upon his theory but the other guests at the table nod their heads in agreement.
      Like Ken's two (excellent) pieces, Mullen's is w/out a doubt worth the read.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:40:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, teacherken--I enjoyed (9+ / 0-)

    both of your essays, and read the riposte by Jay Matthews.  I teach Pre-K, and am often saddened by the fact that the schools can reduce so many of my eager, self-motivated little learners to robots who diligently but unenthusiastically spend their school hours spitting back  pre-digested pap, within a few years.

    The district in which I teach is very fond of AP courses, and both high schools have high test scores, as well as a high percentage of kids going on to "good" universities.  Since it's an affluent area, many students also have the opportunity to be involved in the arts, sports, etc.  However, the push to be "ahead" and the emphasis on the tests is, in my opinion, clearly killing the love of learning even in these very privileged students.  What the practices do to the less-privileged, of course, is even worse.

    Madeline Levine, Denise Pope, Wendy Mogel and their colleagues at ChallengeSuccess all come to these schools to speak about the amount of cheating, intellectual disengagement and burnout which are the result of our "no child left untested" practices, but at least at the moment, I don't see much hope that there will be any sort of meaningful change.

    Thanks for your thoughtful discussion of the situation--

    "Teachers are the enemies of ignorance. If the teachers win, Rush and his allies lose." Stolen from Sidnora, 12/15/12 with thanks!

    by kmoore61 on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 04:43:52 PM PST

  •  from personal experience, I found that schools (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ManhattanMan, 207wickedgood, Lujane

    that split English into Literature and Writing and Rhetoric classes instead of a single class and then had heterogeneous groups instead of AP classes turned out students' better prepared for college and life than schools which combined the classes.

    However this is purely personal and purely anecdotal from contact with former students and such

    •  years ago there was only 1 English exam (5+ / 0-)

      which covered what is now covered in English Language and English Literature, two separate exams.

      I find it hard to believe that our gifted students were really doing the equivalent of two years of college English, although several of the people teaching those courses in my school were absolutely superb teachers.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:15:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In my case, I requested sample syllabii from (5+ / 0-)

        the English Depts of several universities for their Eng 101 and 102 courses and most were delighted to respond.  Using these I developed a sort of shadow curriculum to prepare the students for what they would expect in those classes and to make sure they had extensive experience in each written assignment they would encounter.  I also used the same texts their professors would be using

        OTOH I also taught sixth graders "Richard III" and pushed for first grade foreign language instruction.  In 7th grade, we covered the remainder of the "History" plays, comparing the plays to the actual histories

  •  At the community college where my wife teaches... (7+ / 0-)

    ...over 40% of the students need developmental (i. e. remedial) English, and over 50% need developmental math. Those courses start at an upper elementary school level.

    At my museum I regularly interact with faculty from nearly a dozen schools, including community colleges and 4-year public and private schools. Universally, they have concerns about their students critical thinking/problem solving skills, their ability to evaluate information, and their writing and math reasoning skills (ironic, as these are supposedly the main focus of testing).

    "Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure."--Charles Darwin

    by Hopeful Monster on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:23:39 PM PST

  •  Thanks, very thoughtful piece, which... (7+ / 0-)

    I've passed along to teachers I know.  :-)  

    Why isn't my IRA worth $100M???

    by Jill on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 05:48:49 PM PST

  •  As a college instructor . . . (4+ / 0-)

    As a college instructor, I appreciated your original piece, as well as this follow-up. You've articulated some major problems far more eloquently than I can.

    I will add to the conversation that I think colleges need to do a better job of helping students make the jump into higher ed. I teach mostly first-year college students in my current job, and the reigning philosophy here is to think of the students as blank slates and high school is a big black box that can't be unlocked. As a result, it's hard to gauge what students already know and even harder to determine what they don't know. But any suggestion that we consider how our first-year curriculum and general expectations match up with high school is met with fierce resistance by some college faculty. (I imagine that some HS faculty might perceive it negatively as well--a blame game, if you will--but that's not the idea, really!).

    I am committed to fighting the bozos who want to force the high-stakes testing model of NCLB onto higher-ed.

  •  thanks for your work on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, teacherken, Linda Wood

    assessment-mania versus actual pedagogy

    You should have a further selfish motivation. Those who have imposed the mindless and destructive patterns of misuse of tests to drive policy in K–12 education are already moving to impose it on higher education, at least in the case of the departments and schools of education that prepare teachers: they want to “rate” those departments by the test scores of the students taught by their graduates.
    For those who argue as does Jay that students are now better prepared for college than before, I have two responses:
    1.  That is not what I am being told by the many college professors who are writing to me.
    2.   That is contradicted by the increasing number and percentage of students being required to take non-credit remedial courses, especially in English and Math, in many institutions of higher education.
  •  apples and oranges, ken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Linda Wood

    The students who need remedial help aren't the students taking the AP exams. I teach on the college level, and I grade the AP US History exam. I hang out with high school history teachers there.  We compare notes. A 5 does prepare you for upper level work.  I've had them in my classes. I don't know how many of them needed remedial help, because they don't tell us that.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Feb 22, 2013 at 11:22:52 PM PST

    •  I think you misinterpret (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Linda Wood

      there are two different issues I address

      1) the increasing need for remedial work

      2) the separate problems with AP, including the lack of emphasis of good writing in some exams (including mine), the emphasis on "coverage" at the expense of understanding in depth, and the fact that good scores on the AP exam do not, according to some colleges, translate to sufficient learning to justify granting credit

      further, on the AP US Govt exam, the fact that one can get a "passing" grade with less than half of the raw points should be raising red flags, at least to my mind.

      elsewhere I have noted that the DBQ question for the US history exam encourage far better writing than do the FRQs on the Government exam.  Further, they are more attuned to the kinds of thinking and writing one is expected to do at the collegiate level.  Still, the complaint exists that the amount of material to be covered does not allow for the kinds of in depth thinking and exploration that should be encouraged.

      I will note that I got a 5 on the AP US history exam in 1963.  In our high school we had already had a course in US History before we were allowed into AP.  A college course probably assumes the same, even as it might expect some real weaknesses and gaps in what the student got from that course.  Nowadays some students take the AP without having had all of American history.  Until we changed the sequence of our courses, student could take AP US History in 11th grade in lieu of the required course that covered post-Reconstruction history.  That was a weakness.

      I am not saying all AP courses are poor.  My students were pretty well prepared to do college work, but I know that was not true in the majority of the AP government classes in other high schools in our school system.  There were some that were, but I had them fo 45 minutes a day all years, and some of the other high schools had them for 90 minutes all year -  for what is supposed to be a semester college course.

      I have mixed feelings about AP, and have come to the conclusion that if we properly empowered and trained teachers, AP would not be necessary to challenge our students.  I am also aware that it is a big cash cow for the College Board and others, so it is not likely to disappear.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:36:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A few comments to add (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linda Wood, lostinamerica

    These are just some random thoughts as a person who now teaches AP (US Gov) and was enrolled in AP coursework as a high school student (US Gov, Euro History, US History, Physics mechanics and E&M, Calculus AB, and Biology)

    - I have a full year AP Gov course on a traditional schedule. I have the students every day, all year, 46 minutes per class. This allows me to fully instruct the AP syllabus by exam time in May, conduct some student directed activities (mock Congress and mock Presidential election), and use the 3 to 4 weeks in between the exam and graduation to teach state and local government along with student selected current political topics. I know this is a luxury and far too many Gov teachers are stuck with teaching on an inferior schedule where they only have their Gov students for half of the time that I do.

    - I 100% agree with Ken that far too many AP courses place cramming of fact above deeper meaning and understanding of topics. This obviously isn't an issue with the Calc exam, but I found (and still find) the US and Euro History exams to be that way.

    - I also agree with Ken's point about far too many HS students headed to college without the ability to read, reason, rhetorically argue, and "w"rite. If I were King of the HS World, I'd mandate a course in this area for every 8th and 12th grade student. The 8th grade course would prepare a student for these areas in HS and the 12th grade version would prepare students for writing on either a university or work world level depending on the individual student's post high school plans.

  •  Actually ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    With my OPEDs in The Post, the Post has not claimed that I do not have full rights to use the material elsewhere. Thus, bet that it is likely that you can use the material as you wish.

    And, yes, when you say "popular", that certainly looks to be the case.  3184 tweets, 99k Facebook likes, Washington Post certainly got their money's worth from your work.

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 04:31:27 AM PST

    •  this is a bit different than an op ed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, Don midwest, lostinamerica

      I wrote the piece at the invitation of Valerie Strauss, who apparently has had to deal with this issue in the past.  I deferred to her on not cross-posting.

      I will note that I had a similar restriction on this piece written for CNN.Com.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 05:39:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting question (0+ / 0-)

        that you might pose for the Post.  With the # of reads you are getting, they are earning $1000s of advertising revenue off your work.  And, they are telling you that they own the rights without paying you?  

        And, unlike the posting on a blog, the OPEDs were printed in the dead-tree edition.  (Which, of course, then raises a different question -- clearly, your pieces are being massively read/shared online. Wonder how those numbers, in reality, compare with something that appears in the dead-tree edition ... Simply don't know.)

        Might be time, however, for you to consider hosting your own blog site even as you would post most (if not all) here as well. Might as well provide Valerie/others place to refer to rather than openly posting your email address.

        Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

        by A Siegel on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 06:55:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  posting email came from Academe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel

          it is something they do on all/most pieces to encourage dialog

          I did not object to Valerie posting

          I used to list mine at dailykos as well

          I got very few dumb responses, and none threatening, racist, etc.

          In the past I used to crosspost everything at my own blog from whererever I first posted.  I decided I simply was not getting enough eyeballs to warrant it

          I have on occasion been paid for my writing, but never enough to consider it more than a bit of mad money

          it would be nice if I could earn a small income, since with pension and social security I do not need much more.

          So far that has not happened.

          What is interesting is that this time I have NOT been approached by publishers interested in a book, although in the past things far less visible than this  would regularly draw inquiries.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 09:32:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Couple things ... (0+ / 0-)

            For me, the problem of email publishing is more that real email addresses get eaten up by spam searching ... and, well, too casual an email can lead to lots of contacts though it sounds like you're not overwhelmed.  I list email address also but with 'controls' to make it a little harder for the spam systems to pick it up.

            Book publishers, unless it is explosive situation, are in 'wait for the incoming proposal' rather than taking the energy to search out books nowadays (imo).  

            For me, the 'key' item for "own blog" isn't the eyeballs there (a front paged post at HuffPost might have more than a month of what I get at GESN) but that it is all (or nearly all) in one spot which makes it easier for me to drag up, provides a 'body' of literature, etc ... Easily get 25-50x more comments here at Dkos for the same post, yet there are people/places who will go to GESN who won't come here. (For example, many office internet systems will block DKos as "political" / "social" while GESN doesn't fall into the same blocks.)  

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:58:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Wow, you brought up a lot of subjects here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, Linda Wood

    AP Classes:

    I wish I hadn't wasted the money on AP classes for the kids.  Though they may enable them to skip a class in college, they didn't help with much else.  Of course, I knew my guys wouldn't be class valedictorian, which seemed to be the only reason the classes mattered.

    Remedial classes:
    All three of my boys were AP students.  Yet when they got to college, they needed remedial courses in math.  I can't understand how a student can get through High School Calculus, and yet need remedial math.

    Our junior college has to place 90% of the students from our district into remedial classes in at least one subject, some in more.  These are kids that passed the state's required tests for graduation, some are honor students.  But somehow, they graduated so lacking in a subject that they aren't ready for entry level college work.  

    There are many problems in our educational system.  But in my district the problems seem to be rooted in the Administration Building, not in most of the schools themselves.  

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 07:13:58 AM PST

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