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Naked RTTT, Budget Blues, and NH “Teapublicans”

January 25, 2012

Four Takes on Tough Times in the ASCD On-Line Journal has some ideas on how to control costs… the writers question the value of small class size (except at the primary grade levels), educational assistants, and the unified pay schedule. They champion the use of distance learning and technology.

Race to the Top has no clothes! Michael Winerip eviscerates Race to the Top by reporting the facts: the $$$ for Race to the Top is 1/3 of 1% of the total education budget for the state of NY; 79% of the teachers cannot be measured using the tests in place; the State’s are responsible for absorbing all kinds of implementation costs. The real problem from my perspective: Race to the Top reinforces the existing factory model of schooling at a time when it should be compelling schools to use technology to individualize instruction.

New Hampshire’s “Teapublicans” strike with a law that requires schools to devise specialized lessons for parents who don’t like a particular unit. In this “Room For Debate” series of articles both sides get to explain their perspectives… As is often the case in these kinds of crackpot laws, there is so much hypocrisy involved one doesn’t know where to start. The short essay “Public Schools Have a Public Purpose” includes the question: what if a parent wants lessons tilted toward the views of the KKK? What if they want the lessons taught in Farsi? Ay yi yi!

“Algebra is your friend” was a statement I often made to my older daughter who was not enthused about the course when I would use algebra to solve a problem like “how long until we get to Portland”… This article from Nation describes how Baltimore students enrolled in algebra courses used their math skills to demonstrate to legislators that cutting funds to their school system was a losing proposition. If this was in NH the kids would probably get an alternative lesson on supply side economics 😉

FLA’s grading system gets an “F” in my book because it reduces school performance to a single letter grade based on one metric: standardized test scores. This use of simplified metrics described in an EdWeek article is linked to the consumerism talked about in the “teapublican” article above and is linked to the whole notion that schools are factories that produce good students using the most efficient means possible…

You CAN assess the whole child and in a good school we DO… that’s the conclusion of ASCD blogger Molly McCloskey who describes how the school her daughter attended understood her poor performance on final exams was the result of personal crisis and not “poor teaching”…

 

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