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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Testing Bandwagon Is Heavy With Bodies

Without the Congressional support to get NCLB, The Sequel passed before the end of the Bush Nightmare, Spellings has done the next worst thing. She and her ed industry goon squad have squeezed through new NCLB regulations that go as far as Spelling can to add public high schools to the Bush/Spellings elementary and middle school list for targeted failures. Unable to impose, without a re-write of NCLB, the same kind of sure-fire test failure mechanism that has been used so successfully in public elementary in middle schools, the new regulations will impose "accountability" on high schools via dropout reduction demands.

And if high schools don't reduce the number of dropouts, they will face, yes that's right, sanctions. What kind of sanctions? Firstly, their principals will be replaced, one might assume with the non-educator CEO types that Eli Broad is spending millions to create with his principal training model. And secondly, those schools who don't meet the dropout reduction targets will be required to offer, ta-da, tutoring from the same corrupt, unaccountable, ditto-dispensing dip dog corporations that have been sucking a billion dollars a year from federal education funds to tutor elementary school kids since the passage of NCLB.

Imagine for moment an epidemic has struck. One of four patients seeking medical help is dying. In the most vulnerable areas of town, one out of two dies. The mayor declares an emergency and issues a directive that all hospital administrators will be fired if the death rate is not brought under control. And as an added measure in combatting the ravaging disease, the mayor requires that hospitals now must pay, from their current budgets, an exorbitant fee for pharmaceutical companies to set up aspirin dispensaries on every floor of their hospitals. And if these heroic efforts do not stem the dying, then the hospitals must suffer further consequences as yet unnamed.

Of course, the media and the know-nothings of both Parties seem to believe that Mayor Spellings is on the right track in her heroic efforts to get control of a disease already at epidemic proportions before her NCLB treatments set off the current dropout pandemic in 2002. Yes, the testing bandwagon is heavy with bodies, and as the idiot majority on Maryland's State Board of Education showed yesterday, it will be making more pick-up rounds across the state sometime before the next scheduled graduation:

BALTIMORE, Oct. 28 -- One of every six high school seniors in Maryland has not met a new state test-score requirement for receiving a diploma, state officials reported Tuesday, leaving thousands in jeopardy of missing graduation in the spring.

Even as state officials disclosed that 9,000 of 54,000 seniors have either fallen short on a battery of four tests in algebra, biology, government and English or have not yet taken all of them, the state Board of Education decided to move ahead with the requirement. Students who do not reach minimum scores can show mastery of the subjects through an alternative path.

On a 7 to 4 vote, the board rejected an effort to delay enforcement of the requirement after an impassioned debate, during which one board member shouted into his microphone and another almost broke into tears. . . .

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