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

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Keegan Utters Profound Truth Without Knowing It

If there is anyone in the running for next ED Sec. job who is more contemptuous of common sense than the "99.9% pure" Margaret Spellings, it has to be ed industry cheerleader and McCain sidekick, Lisa Graham Keegan. Yesterday the Arizona Republic had a small piece that presaged the impending education debate of the Fall presidential campaign, which seems destined to be limited to an argument about how much testing by whom, rather than the sorely-needed national discussion of the purposes and aims of education within a democracy struggling to achieve equity and excellence while avoiding environmental calamity.

Here's a clip:
. . . . Lisa Graham Keegan, a key education adviser to the McCain campaign, suggested rigid, standardized testing remains an essential tool in evaluating schools.

. . . .

But Keegan, a former state superintendent of public instruction who was considered by President Bush as his first secretary of education, said the tests are the best way to measure learning progress.

"There can't be tests, plural," Keegan said. "If we allow different tests for different kids in (schools where English is a second language) and poor settings, what happens is work that would get a C grade in a wealthy area would get an A in a poor area. That's a fact."
Does Lisa Keegan really believe that children in wealthy areas would seek out poor, immigrant schools so that they could make an A on the big test? Really? Or is there another concern to which she seems unaware contained in the obverse of her question: what happens to ESL children who can't read the test that is constructed and normed so that the poor, the brown, the immigrant children only rarely have a chance to make more than a C? Does Keegan really believe that treating everyone exactly the same is the same thing as treating them equally? Surely she wouldn't give a sighted child a test written in Braille. Would she continue the obliviously-racist policy of test and punish that guarantees the continued failure of those who need the most help to succeed?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:29 AM

    I love the image you've proposed of an affluent student trudging across the tracks to take the easier test. Ha! I wonder sometimes if these people have ever met a student.