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

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Rube Goldberg is Alive and Well and Working for George Miller

Sam Dillon in the NY Times offers a sampling of opinions now emerging as readers finish Rube Goldberg's version of NCLB--now unofficially designated as suffering from the deadly disorder known as OCAD (Obsessive Compulsive Accountability Disorder).

Miller, in an attempt to appease his ed industry/Business Roundtable contributors who provide the cash, and his suburban base who provide the votes, has decided to offer up the poor urban schools of America as a sacrifice to the corporate gods, while drawing the line on the charterizing of American schools at the point where the white picket fences start. Buffy and Biff's leafy cul-de-sac schools will be protected by new rules that only the whiter and wealthier parents can afford.

Dillon begins:

As Congress returns next week, leading Democrats are struggling for the formula that can attract bipartisan support to extend the life of President Bush’s education law, No Child Left Behind. In doing so, they are proposing to ease the pressure on suburban schools.

A draft proposal being floated by Representative George Miller, chairman of the House education committee, would soften many of the law’s accountability provisions while maintaining its overall strategic goal: to bring every student to proficiency by 2014 by requiring states to administer standardized tests and to punish schools where scores do not rise.

What I find fascinating is that Sam Dillon, an otherwise able and sound-minded reporter, would type this out on his keyboard and never think to add the unceasing reality check offered by the most serious and informed critics, the testing experts themselves, who unanimously, and to the last psychometrician standing, say that this goal of 100% proficiency is ludicrous, impossible, and guarantees failure. Fascinating, Mr. Dillon, especially since the Washington Post, even the Washington Post, is willing to admit that fact.

I also noticed in this piece that everyone Dillon asks offers an opinion on this Rube Goldberg NCLB draft except the NEA. In what can only be described as a late onset of democratization, the entrenched suits who own NEA have decided to forego an opinion until the NEA has "finish polling its local delegates."

If the NEA had offered such an grassroots opportunity months ago when affiliates were handed an order by Joel Packer not to sign the Educator Roundtable's petition to dismantle NCLB, then perhaps the NEA position would be exceedingly clear by now. As Philip Kovacs suggests, if Mr. Packer would allow and encourage NEA members to provide comments to Congressman Miller to say SCRAP IT AND START OVER!!!!!!!, this abusive NCLB crime against children and public education would not stand another month.

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