August 10, 2006

I'll take Education for $500, Alex

"Toothaches, Global Warming, and the Iraq War."

I thought the topic Was Education, Alex?

It is. Do you want me to repeat the answer?

You better, Alex, I'm confused.

Ok, "Toothaches, Global Warming, and the Iraq War."

No idea, Alex.

Do any of the other contestants know the question?

Crickets, crickets, crickets.

The question was "What are three popular reasons anti-NCLB educrats give for being against standardized testing?"

No, really. I'm serious.

Go check out Professor Dana Rapp's arguments in the ongoing Edspresso debate going on this week. You'll especially like when the website editor, Ryan Boots, had to request that he stay a little more focused standardized testing arguments--to which the good professor responded that no, in fact, those were his arguments.

And, don't think for a minute that the professor is just some lone nutter. We have our own little NCLB/standardized testing debate going on here and here. And, guess what? Our anti-NCLBer is making the same arguments! Coincidence? I think not.

And, we have a little something Edspresso doesn't, our ant-NCLBer is hurling around such delightful epithets as "racist," "Nazi," and "Hitler." Beat that, Edspresso!

Update: And at least my anti-NCLBer showed up for work today.


SteveH said...

"Our anti-NCLBer is making the same arguments! Coincidence? I think not."

I was struck by the same thing.

Our anti-NCLBer even pulled out the social justice card.

These people seem to have great difficulty getting down to defining exactly what their problem is. They keep mixing up issues. I struggle to really try to understand. In the other thread I make my best attempt.

It's sort of an everything-is-connected kind of problem. They seem to have lots of opinions and assumptions and everything is tied together. It makes it very difficult for a reader to understand them. It also makes their solutions much more fuzzy and ill-defined, like solving all social ills before we can expect anything from schools and teachers.

Anti-NCLBers can't seem to say whether they are against all testing (even weekly spelling tests in class), or just yearly standardized tests, or tests defined by others(like the state), or high-stakes tests, or tests that just affect the school. They complain about having 100 percent of all kids meeting the requirements, but you don't get the impression that they would like it if the percentage was lowered.

They complain about the type of test (decoding issues, etc.), but one doesn't get the impression that they are ready to go out and define their own test. They just don't like tests. But, how do they know if a school is doing a good job? Trust them? Well, they apparently want to make a variety of changes and hope for the best. They must approve of some kind of testing, but I'll be darned if I know what that is. Rubrics? Portfolios? Authentic individual evaluation? Leave them alone because they are the experts kind of test?

Then, there is the issue of social promotion and full-inclusion. They really, really don't want to separate kids by ability. Is this the real reason for not liking standardized tests? Apparently they mix up equality of opportunity with equality of learning ability. It reminds me of a question that was sent home to parents from our public school. It asked parents what type of learner their child was. One parent answered: "fast".

Perhaps this is also about academic turf. They really, really don't want outsiders challenging their assumptions and research. They don't want to talk about the details of curriculum and grade-level expectations. I always find it odd when they claim that they are the experts, but don't seem to think that it's necessary to talk to anyone who is a content expert in the field.

Of course, all of this wouldn't matter if public school wasn't a monopoly. However, these same people typically fight against charter schools and full vouchers, which could start helping individual inner-city kids tommorow, not in 2014. There is a lot arrogance about their claim to this monoply and their insistence on doing things their own way, as if they are the sole arbitrators of education, equality, and social justice.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one am just glad to find out that Ken is a clueless bigot. That settles that.

When in doubt, a well-timed ad hominem always raises one's credibility in a debate.


KDeRosa said...

I must admit I do looking dashing in my nazi uniform.

KDeRosa said...

Steve, I was about to try to unravel the gordian knot of illogic myself until I saw that you beat me too it. And, for that I am grateful.

Anonymous said...

If you strip away the jargon and convoluted arguments of the unions and other anti-NCLBers, it boils down to this: just give us lots more money and remove all accountability, and everything will be just fine.

Wish I had the cajones to suggest that to my clients...

allen said...

Be interesting to see if Peter allows heretical questions to show up on his blog.

I commented on the post about John Stossel, asking what sort of results the Ben Chavis school managed to generate. He's got moderation turned on so I'll have to wait to see if dissent is allowed in PeterLand.