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Archive for March, 2012

This just in: Charter Schools are NOT the Solution

March 23, 2012 1 comment

Truthdig writer David Sirota writes in his article “Charter Schools are Not the Silver Bullet” that the results for charter schools do not suggest they are any better or any cheaper than public schools. Now… to be consistent I must point out the the measure being used to determine if charter schools are “better” is…. you guessed it… standardized tests! The beat goes on… how are we ever going to know if your schools are getting better if the only measure we use for their quality is standardized tests?

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TMI: Brazil Using Computer Chips to Track Students

March 23, 2012 Comments off

In the “you can’t make this stuff up” category, the AP reported that 20,000 students in a NE Brazilian city will be wearing school uniforms with computer chips. The scary thing: given the bogeyman of child abduction I could see some American schools looking at this as a great idea. The article reports: “The chips send a text message to the cellphones of parents when their children enter the school or alert the parents if their children have not arrived 20 minutes after classes have begun”. Maybe my 30+ years as an administrator lead me to see the legal liability consequences of this.If schools are promoting this, are schools then going to be responsible for reporting to parents when their youngster doesn’t wear the correct apparel? How will the schools know that the chip is still embedded in the apparel? If the chip breaks and the student cuts class without the parent’s knowledge, is the school responsible? But even worse is the notion that the school is effectively communicating to the students that 24/7 monitoring in not only OK, it is an expectation. It’s bad enough that many people have accepted frisking at the airports as “standard operating procedure”… but when the day comes that having chips monitoring everyone’s every move is OK we will be living in “1984”….

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A Network School in NYC: Will it “succeed”?

March 23, 2012 Comments off

David Brooks Misses the Point… Again! Today’s NYTimes features an essay by David Brooks called “The Relationship School” that describes the kind of school that this blog wants to see throughout public education. Here’s the clinker: at the conclusion of the article Brooks writes: “It’s too soon to say if it (the school described in the essay) will work…”… But here’s the REAL problem: the way NYC (or USDOE for that matter) will decide if this approach “works” is to administer a standardized test to a group of students sorted by age because our whole accountability system is based on “…the 18th-century Prussian model designed to create docile subjects and factory workers” that he derides earlier in the article. David Brooks overlooks the practical reality of public school accountability: our metrics make no effort to determine if the relationships that exist in a school are healthy or productive. We only want schools to turn out kids who score well on standardized tests and we only want teachers who can help them accomplish that end.

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