Unfortunately for the readers of the Washington Post education pages (which could just as easily be the Washington Times), Mathews is no less wrong in his opinion piece assignments than he is in his truthy news stories, as yesterday’s homage to the virtues of testing shows. This piece begins and ends in intellectual territory that has been cleared by our dull chain-saw wielding President, who, too, remains mystified by how anyone can argue that teaching to the test can be anything but good. Not only does Mathews show off the same rapier-like intellect that the President regularly displays when confronting tough issues, he demonstrates a similar disconnect with what is going on in the real world, in real schools, everywhere. Try this em-bubbled version of how today's empowered teachers keep things on track in terms of what is best for kids:
There are, of course, ways to teach to the test that are bad for kids and that occur now and then in schools . . . . But there is no evidence that this happens often. Strong teachers usually raise a ruckus, administrators back down and everybody goes back to the traditional lesson reviews that all good teachers use.Which school planet is Mathews living on? The protected outposts of Arlington’s gated communities where schools have no poverty or diversity to bring down their test scores or their optimism? Or is he talking about the new chain gang schools of DC, where behavioral control has replaced intellectual pursuit, where teachers learn their lines instead of making lesson plans, where children parrot rather than think, where order is maintained by strange salutes and posted messages written in a language that the children can’t understand. I wonder.
I will have more to say on Mathews, the ed-opiner a bit later.