May 25, 2010

The Other Problem with Standards

"We took our licks, we got outvoted," [Republican Texas Board of Education member David Bradley] said of the last time the [Texas] standards were debated and approved in 1999. ... "Now it's 10-5 in the other direction. ... We're an elected body, this is a political process. Outside that, go find yourself a benevolent dictator."

I love the benevolent dictator part.

Standards, especially national ones, are a political beast. They will be politicized. And, about half the time your political party will be out of power. Politics are a zero-sum game. Deal with it.


Downes said...

Actually, in my case, about 100% of the time, my political party is out of power. ;)

KDeRosa said...

Stephen, I believe we are in the same boat, just at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Mathew said...

I think calling politics a zero sum game is giving far too much credit to politics and politicians. From my perspective it's clearly a very negative sum game. There may be no real progress with political sides flipping power back and forth, but there is plenty of waste of energy in the meantime.

Dick Schutz said...

Every matter is political, (just as it is psychological, sociological, economic, and so on.) And all politics is local. Deal with it.

Good benevolent dictators are hard to find.

The national standards in "English Language Arts" and math, masked as Common Core will hit the fan when people take a look at them, and "history" and "science" standards don't stand a chance.

The political balance of the TX Board changes again in Jan. and calls are already being made for the "new Board" to reverse the action of the "old Board."

Dick Schutz said...

Psst. The national standards are already hitting the fan and are being termed "United Nations" standards.

KDeRosa said...

Every matter is political

True that, but there is political and then there is political.

Robin said...

Did everyone see this story from EdWeek today?

Given College Board's support for CCSI and other Edweek stories that the standards are not to be the curriculum, does anyone doubt that SpringBoard is part of the proposed new ELA curriculum?

Also there actually is a UNESCO curriculum they push and it"s Investigations math, Lucy Calkins, Fountas & Pinnell and most of the other well known fuzzy authors.

I accidentally stumbled across it while trying to figure out what the specified curriculum at an approved charter school had in common.

"United Nations Curriculum" is a red herring to sound absurd so we'll ignore the fact that there's truth there.

Dick Schutz said...

The operative sentence in the Nevada story is:

Designed by the College Board, which developed the Advanced Placement program, SpringBoard is “vertically aligned” in grades 6-12 and uses “standards-based instruction to reinforce content.”

There we have the logic of the Common Core Standards and the "better tests" that will book-end the Standards.

Test people truly believe that they can "vertically align" "comprehension" grade-by-grade through statistical analysis.

They have slid a long way down the slippery slope from Descartes notions of "existence" and "measurement"

Their logic is "Anything that can be tested must exist in some amount. And if it exists, it can be taught."

They don't want for a minute to specify how it should be taught. No. No. No! That would be infringing on the freedom of teachers.

Nice work if you can get it. And they have it.

rnovator7 said...

The only standard that should be met with text books, and what conservatives, by definition, are more aligned with, is TRUTH.

When we begin to edit to meet liberal or politically correct standards, we dillute the value of history, just as the current Administration seeks to dilute or undermine the Constitution through various means in order to meet their social standards of redistribution of wealth, retribution for slavery, putting America at equal status in the World, and welcoming all people who care to penetrate our borders illegally, which is truly a means to ensure that dems stay in power.

Malcolm Kirkpatrick said...

A standard is a unit of measurement. A meter stick is a standard. A kilogram weight is a standard. Platinum measuring rods will not make children taller. Elaborate academic standards will not make children smarter or schools more effective.

The fundamental problem with curriculum standards is that humans are not standard. I tried to read the Math "standards" and became ill. Most children could accomplish far more by age 12 than the sixth grade "standards" specify, but that's a minor objection compared to the larger issue of what society loses when remote authorities precribe how other people's children should spend the time between age 6 and age 18.

Government actors have no natural expertise that usefully applies to the education industry. When I read "standards" that assert that children will do thus-and-so or schools will do thus-and-so, I wonder: "Or what?"

kprugman said...

Ignoring the standards for research in favor of the growing politization will be public education's own undoing. The rest of the world is not a fool.

I can read books well enough to understand which one's were written by idiots. When I ask classrooms of high school students where is North and they all point up, where is the fool?

These children are the products of a school system that was deliberately tampered with. For the majority of students, school is a big fat waste of time.

LynnG said...

Ken -- check out Jay Matthews's most recent column in his "Class Struggle." Jay thinks you are remarkable. I think he's voting for you to rewrite the common core.