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Posts Tagged ‘Testing’

Online “Pioneer” SNHU Looking for Market Share in Pandemic

August 5, 2020 Leave a comment

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This generally flattering PBS report will undoubtedly help Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) with it’s relentless recruiting efforts. SNHU is not a newcomer to virtual learning: they launched their program in 1995 and are already the largest nonprofit and accredited online university in the country. With that history and the ability to rapidly ramp up to meet demand, and the fact that most colleges are offering students mostly online courses with no discount in tuition, I expect SNHU’s enrollment to swell even more. And from my perspective as one who values mastery learning over seat time, SNHU’s emergence as a valid alternative to college could result in a different model for high school in the future… one based on the attainment of competencies as opposed to the accumulation of credits.

Jamelle Bouie is Right: John Lewis and John Dewey ARE Kindred Spirits

July 31, 2020 Leave a comment

NYTimes op ed columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote a column today praising John Lewis and comparing his advocacy for civil rights with John Dewey’s advocacy for democracy. The column compelled me to leave this comment:

John Dewey would weep to see how public education has devolved. The tests we administer to “measure” schools have no relationship to the skills required to sustain democracy today. Worse the test-and-punish system in place since the advent of NCLB does nothing to really Dewey’s view of a democratic society “…where each person could develop their “distinctive capacities” to the fullest and then use them for the sake of their communities” When schools eliminate the arts to relentlessly focus on improving test scores they do nothing to develop the “distinctive capabilities” of thousands of students and, as a result, deny communities of their services.

America’s democratic spirit is sapped when the classrooms are focussed exclusively on boosting standardized test scores. A comparison of the offerings available to students in “successful” schools– those serving children in affluent families— with those available to students in “failing” schools– those serving children raised in poverty– illustrates how test-driven metrics plays out in an anti-democratic fashion.

Betsy DeVos is Technically Wrong but Practically Right: She CAN Control $$$

July 22, 2020 Comments off

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University of South Carolina education professor Derek Black writes that Betsy DeVos has overstepped her constitutional authority by threatening to withholding federal funds from states unless they reopen in the fall. He is technically right… BUT practically wrong…. and Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top (RTTT) provides her with a template and a precedent for doing so. As I trust Dr. Black realizes, Arne Duncan conditioned the release of federal stimulus funds to States on their development of a plan that would effectively require the adoption of a test-based accountability plan that in some way linked teacher evaluations to standardized test scores. Just as there is no scientific basis for sending children back to school during a pandemic without safeguards there was no scientific basis for using tests to “measure” student or teacher performance. That did not stop Congress from giving Arne Duncan broad authority on distribution of huge sums of money for a largely discredited method of accountability. From my perspective by sustaining the test and punish regimen for another eight years Mr. Duncan created as much psychological damage to public schools as remote learning AND by creating a precedent that gave his office the power to condition funding on State policy change he paved the way for Betsy DeVos to do the same thing.., only worse.