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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Caring about education," according to Arne Duncan

The Christian Science Monitor has announced that "Education Secretary Arne Duncan will campaign for Democrats" (Sept 22) and "support candidates that really care about education."
Clearly, the secretary's definition of "really caring about education" means support for his plan to spend billions on national standards and new tests, increasing the amount and scope of testing far beyond the already excessive amount now imposed on children.
"Caring about education" means doing this despite research showing that increasing testing does not increase achievement. Rather, it converts schools into test-prep factories, encouraging the learning of test-taking strategies that result in higher scores without students learning anything.
"Caring about education" means spending billions on test construction, validation, revision, etc. at a time when schools are already very short of funds, when many science classes have no lab equipment, school libraries (those that are left) have few books, many school bathrooms lack toilet paper, school years are being shortened, and teachers are losing their jobs.
Those who really care about education, those who have carefully studied the issues and understand what goes on in classrooms and in students' lives, support a policy of "no unnecessary testing," testing only as much as we need to, and no more.

Stephen Krashen


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