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

Friday, April 06, 2012

Reform Movement: A Failure in Logic

See this excellent and thoughtful post by Bruce Baker:

Is there really a point to advocating both standardization and choice?

Key passages:

"Let me be clear that this post isn’t about favoring or slamming either vouchers or the common core, but rather pointing out that favoring both is entirely inconsistent, unless there’s some weird, warped agenda behind it all. This post IS about slamming the two, when used in combination. It just doesn’t make sense.  Let’s throw into this mix other policies promoting standardization of the operations of traditional public schools like forcing those schools to make personnel decisions based largely on student assessment data.

"Collectively what we have here is a massive effort on the one hand, to require traditional public school districts to adopt a common curriculum and ultimately to adopt common assessments for evaluating student success on that curriculum and then force those districts to evaluate, retain and/or dismiss their teachers based on student assessment data, while on the other hand, expanding publicly financed subsidies for more children to attend schools that would not be required to do these things (in many cases, for example, relieving charter schools from teacher  evaluation requirements)."

I raise the same failure of logic concerning charter schools in SC:

"Charter schools in theory represent innovation, experimentation and school autonomy. If these qualities are valuable, and if they can address the out-of-school and in-school causes of educational shortcomings, then we simply need to allocate funding and policies to ensure that our public schools are afforded the same, while also admitting that we have no evidence that a school type — public, charter or private — ensures the outcomes we seek."

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