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

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Duncan's Friday Afternoon News Dump: Test Scores to Make or Break Teacher Preparation Programs

It's hard to remember and appreciate that just 10 years ago, the NCLB testing madness had not yet begun.  In most states, teachers taught and children learned in low stress environments where care was common and child advocacy and professional standards set the education agenda.  Teachers did not normally have anxiety attacks on the way to school, and children almost never puked on their exams. 

But that was before the testing madness started for real, first, with schools and children measured and punished with standardized tests, most of which were then and continue to be pure crap.  And then it was to be the teachers who would be gauged, paid, and let go using those crap tests, soon to be purportedly improved with many more new crap tests required in more subjects and administered more often in more grades.  And just last year came news that a new kind of ed school was being embraced by the corporatists who run NCATE, a preparation that would require candidates to teach and to produce high student scores in order to get their teaching credential!  Could things get any weirder or irrational?

Greenblatt/UPI
And yet in this past Friday afternoon news dump, Edu-Stooge Duncan signaled that the madness is approaching a whole new plateau, or is that a ravine.  In recalibrating what information the Feds will require of ed schools, a graying and sallow Arne announced that his Gates and Broad handlers have come up with a scheme to reward and punish teacher preparation programs based on the scores from tests taken by students who will one day be taught by the ed school graduates. And the edu-oligarchs are getting things rolling with $185 million in federal bribes for those ed schools that sign up first.  This new extortion scheme, I hear, is called RTDYP--Race to Destroy Your Program.

One of the biggest surprises of the weekend: Randi Weingarten does not go along, verbally at least, for now.  Always the savvy negotiator:
The prospect of using student test scores to grade the colleges that trained their teachers doesn't sit well with one teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers. "At the same time that the validity of using standardized tests as the ultimate measure of performance is being widely questioned, the U.S. Department of Education appears to be putting its foot on the accelerator by calling for yet another use for tests," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

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