"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, August 28, 2005

While I was away

When I left for a week of wanderings around Jackson Hole, Ketchum, and Boise, I had no idea that I would be shadowed by our shadowed President, who was taking a vacation last week from his vacation, looking presumably for crowds friendlier than the one camped outside his Crawford ranch. I didn't run into him, but I did see part of his aerial entourage on its way back to the airport after a speech that was carried live by the local media, whose bevy of young female reporters could not have been more visibly excited had Clint Black or Brad Paisley flown into town for a free concert to a few thousand invited guests.

Many thanks to Judy Rabin, whose good sense, good sense of humor, and savvy reporting kept up the work while I was away for exposing the plans of our own Evil Empire to destroy public education.

Among the pile of email awaiting me yesterday were the results of the most recent Phi Delta Kappan poll on education issues. There is much to be digested here, but there are a couple of findings that form an interesting contrast. According to poll, the more one knows about NCLB, the more likely one is to have a negative opinion on the matter. In contrast, the more one knows about public schools, the likelihood increases that a positive attitude will result. We might surmise that, underneath the sweet-sounding rhetoric of NCLB, lies a reality that cannot ignored by anyone willing to lift up the rock; just as we might guess that public schools are not the sewers that our own U.S. Dept. of Education dramatizes them to be with the predictable failure to meet their impossible performance goals that are reported by an eager media.

It is clear that American attitudes toward public education have been shaped by the continuing salvos of bad news on the failure to meet the impossible requirements emanating from NCLB. When citizens are asked, however, about their own neighborhood schools, their opinions are much more positive. Interestingly, respondents are as likely to blame NCLB requirements for school failure as they are to blame the schools. That cannot be good news for Maggie and Co. at USDOE, whose ridiculous yearly progress requirements were intended from the outset to demonstrate the collapse of public education, even if that entailed an emotional and intellectual genocide against our most vulnerable school children whose capacities remain blighted by the poverty and lack of opportunity that our public policies do not even bother to acknowledge as the real reasons for the achievement gaps.

I keep coming back to the fact that the more people know about NCLB, the less they like what they see. Imagine that! In a series of subsequent posts, I will examine what Americans might be finding in NCLB that is not advertised by the fine-sounding pronouncements intended to garner support.

1 comment:

  1. OK, I take your points: You don't like ... And things aren't perfect. What, then do you propose to improve something? What alternatives are you using with students and how what affects (or effects, if you have a cause-effect theory to support results) have you achieved? Where may I read about your work?