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

Saturday, August 05, 2006

All Educational Policy Makers Can Learn

I keep looking for NCLB's Achilles heel. I think it has two: (1) testing of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students and (2) testing Learning Disabled (LD) kids at grade level. When I give my talks on education and NCLB, the majority of people I speak to are outraged that non-native speakers of English and kids who do not read at grade level are required to take the same test as their native speaking and non-LD peers. Doing so makes zero sense. People get this.

Of course, those who stand by this idiotic, brutal practice do so because they believe that "all children should be held to high standards." Those who oppose the practice, they say, are guilty of "the soft bigotry of low expectations."

Here's what I propose. Those who wish to test LEP and LD children at the level of their chronological peers should be required to translate several short passages from the ancient Persian philosopher Rumi from Farsi to English. I recognize that this might be challenging. But I believe that we should hold educational policy makers to high standards. If you object to this proposal, then you are a racist bigot who does not believe that all educational policy makers can learn.

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