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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Undeserved enthusiasm for the Blueprint

Marion Wright Edelman is enthusiastic about the administration's Blueprint for Education Reform because of the focus on accountability. The Blueprint is not just focused on accountability, it is obsessed with it.

The Blueprint calls for more testing than we have ever seen in the history of the US, far more testing even than NCLB requires. The Blueprint encourages testing in all subjects, interim testing, and, because it endorses measuring improvement, could result in test given in both the fall and spring, all closely linked to national standards. The Blueprint is not "a good starting point," as Ms. Edelman suggests. Rather, it is a huge waste of money, spending billions on measurement that is not needed.

Ms. Edelman identifies the real problem: Poverty. Instead of spending more on tests, the investment we need to make is to protect our children against the effects of poverty: Improved nutrition, health-care, and more access to books. Our "low" (actually not so bad) international test scores are the result of the fact that we have such a high percentage of child poverty in the US. Middle class children who attend well-funded schools score at the top of the world.

Edleman article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/law-of-unintended-consequ_b_821819.html?ref=tw

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