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

Monday, November 28, 2005

More Failure Quicker, Please

As the corporate welfare education engineers ramp up their criticism of the states' slowed march toward the inevitable failure that NCLB demands, thus putting on hold the Whittle dream and the Falwell nitemare, we can expect to see localized attacks on state departments of education such as this one in Kentucky by the "non-partisan" Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Bowling Green, KY.

These folks have just released a study authored by "education analyst," Richard Innes. Mr. Innes is a former fighter pilot, engineer, and
one of the initial program developers during the introduction of automated teaching machines into the Air Force’s pilot training program in 1971. And, of course, we know that the Associated Press has noted Mr. Innes's credentials in its news piece. Yes? NO.

The "study" shows that the Kentucky Department of Education is not doing enough to label special education students as failures.
Here the charge is made that the failure to accurately show how many special ed students are failing constitutes neglect on the part of the state testing system: "Kentucky's testing policy continues to inadequately measure results with far too many of the commonwealth's children being left behind."

And, of course, we know that the Bluegrass Institute is all about caring for kids with learning disabilities, don't we? After all, this is an organizatioin based on principle, and the first principle is this one:

PRINCIPLE No.1: Free people are not equal, and equal people are not free.



5 comments:

  1. On testing special ed students:

    Here's an excerpt from an interview with a special ed teacher and school psychologist, who shall remain anonymous, but it is real and it is honest:

    "For my students (the test) is way too difficult. They can't read -- at all. They are severely learning disabled for a multitude of reasons. They have some glitch that they are not able to decode the words so you have to reteach them in a different way. For special ed kids it's pitiful that we have to go and test these kids in that way."

    From a school psychologist:

    "For a typical learning disabled kid, to go through standardized testing is a nightmare."

    ReplyDelete
  2. On testing special ed students:

    Here's an excerpt from an interview with a special ed teacher and a school psychologist who shall remain anonymous but it is real and it is honest:

    "For my students (the test) is way too difficult for them. They can't read--at all. They are severely learning disabled for any multitude of reasons. They have some glitch that they are not able to decode the words so you have to reteach them in a different way."

    School psychologist:

    "For a typical learning disabled kid, to go through standardized testing is a nightmare and it takes away from time in the classroom when they could be learning to read. To just teach them how to fill in the circles is not good for special ed kids."

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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  3. I heard Roger Taylor (the GT guru) once say, and maybe he was quoting someone else I don't know, I was a young teacher at the time and I never forgot it:

    "There is nothing more inherently unequal than the equal treatment of unequals."

    The Super's Blog

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  4. Dr Horn:

    I feel you weaken the power of your voice significantly by choosing to quote the Bluegrass Institute out of context (although I do appreciate the link so I can go see what they have to say for myself).

    In the case of this "principle", their opening comment was that they are not speaking of equality under the law, but rather economic equality. Their position is that no two of us are exactly the same economically because we make individual choices about how to generate and expend economic resources, in part because of our individual interests and talents.

    I view America as being a land of equal opportunity, and am in general supportive of government funded programs that seek to ensure this equality of opportunity.

    But I also recognize that America has limited resources. We must therefore prioritize our spending programs with the understanding that some valid and valuable programs will go unfunded. As a business owner, I must make such decisions every day.

    It is the process of setting those priorities which is broken, and I would argue that to a large part it is due to citizen apathy. That apathy emerges from a feeling of powerlessness to influence federal government spending.

    It seems to me that one way to combat voter apathy is to put more of the spending decisions in the hands of the local electorate. There are certainly times when it is appropriate to set standards at a federal level, but even then, I believe implementation and funding should take place in the smallest economic unit possible. In the case of education standards, that unit may be a city or a country, but will often be a state.

    But what about Mississipi, or West Virginia, my home state? These states do not have the tax base to fund many programs mandated at the federal level.

    The answer is as it always should have been. Move!! As long as we keep sending federal money to poor areas to compensate for the lack of industry, those areas will get poorer and poorer. Folks who find ways to escape to better economic areas will do so, leaving only the poorest folks behind.

    We can't fix poverty by subsidizing it. If you want to put federal money into a community, put jobs there. Maybe an military base, or a public works project. But no more freebees.

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  5. Do you have any substantial criticism of the Bluegrass Institute REPORT? We get that you don't like them. What, specifically, is wrong with their criticism of the CATS test. I eagerly await your answer. My child takes the CATS in April!

    ReplyDelete