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

Friday, March 18, 2011

A new task force on testing

A new task force: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/eceb2868fa924fd591aad5ee6058d636/TN--Education-Task-Force/

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Michael Bennet of Colorado plan to introduce a bill to establish a national task force to examine regulations and testing governing public schools.

The national task force will make recommendations for policy makers to reduce regulatory compliance and improve the quality of assessment systems.

The senators are also planning Thursday to announce a working group that will study the regulations and assessment systems in Colorado and Tennessee to determine effectiveness. The group will include Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Both senators are members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and are part of the committee's negotiating team crafting a bill to reform No Child Left Behind.

They invited comments. I decided to keep my focus narrow and limited, and did not mention some issues that should be (eg, are there any teachers on the task force, anyone who has spent a day alone with children in a room?). Here is what I wrote, posted today, March 18:

I hope this task force understands that the Dept of Education is planning the most extensive testing program ever done in the US, increasing testing far beyond the already unreasonable NCLB levels, with summative tests, interim tests, and, if they want value-added without the effects of the summer, pretests. The Blueprint also calls for testing in all subjects, not just reading and math. I have argued that this is a massive mistake and and will cost billions that should be spent elsewhere, in addition to wasting student and teacher time. There are alternatives. Please see my paper, A Fundamental Principle: No Unnecessary Testing NUT, at: www.sdkrashen.com/articles/​NUT_No_Unnecessary_​Testing.pdf ·

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