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

Sunday, October 15, 2006

National Pandemic is a Reality

Given the existence of an idealized vision of the community, movements of protest are likely to occur within the political nation when the discrepancy between the image and the reality comes to seem intolerably wide.
-- J.H. Elliott

The historian J.H. Elliott may not have envisioned the huge disconnect between image and reality that now characterizes education reform under No Child Left Behind, but his observation on what drives people to stand up and protest can be applied to the growing rebellion taking place across the country and more parents, teachers, administrators and even some astute politicians are finding the current testing craze with its punitive consequences increasingly intolerable.

Bill Archer, a counselor at R.J. Longstreet Elementary in Daytona Beach, Florida provides us with a huge dose of reality:

What is happening is pandemic across the nation. Public education is under siege from state and federal politicos who are transforming what was once an arena of pure educational learning into a corporate state of testing.

This allowed well-connected publishing companies to gorge themselves on public school dollars in a frenzied testing environment that has been sold as "accountability" to the unsuspecting public.

Local administrators are intimidated and fearful of losing money for their districts, maybe even losing their jobs if they resist.You can hear them saying submissively, "We just have to play along."

R.J. Longstreet Elementary School is so much better than the A repeatedly assigned to it by evaluation processes that can't meet minimal standards of reliability and validity in the real world of accountability. It is a safe school, a community-involvement award winner, a place where kids enjoy coming to learn, socialize and play each day.Its parents are supportive and caring.Its biggest enemies are these tests and those behind these predatory programs that starve those in need and lavish the money saved on their corporate accomplices.

This current administration is working hard to change the face of the world into its own corrupt image, and it is succeeding in public education, the only place where a defense could have been mounted to defeat it.R.J. Longstreet Elementary is fighting to maintain its right to educate rather than become of victim of the testing craze.

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