Saturday, April 2, 2011

Education Reform: A Basketful of Rotten Tomatoes

March was not a good month for Michele Rhee, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, nor President Obama.

Rhee has stopped talking for the moment as investigations into testing irregularities on D.C. standardized tests move forward. President Obama's speeches last week on his vision for the improvement quality and quantity of standardized tests left many confused. Much was written regarding the disconnect between the President's views and those of the Department of Education. Oddly, Justin Hamilton, Deputy Press Secretary at the Department of Education, requested that one blogger make corrections to his blog since the facts had been misrepresented. Instead, Education Week blogger, Anthony Cody, requested that the government explain how the positions align. Hamilton's plan isn't working out too well. The supplied Department of Education clarifications make it fairly clear that more money is being dumped into redundant test development. Read Cody's original blog, Department of Education responses, and follow up at Living in Dialogue. Parents are resisting the spike in testing and taxpayers are not getting the necessary level of accountability on these efforts.

In September 2010, the new federal testing initiative was announced in a speech delivered by Duncan. I missed that piece of information until this week when the North Carolina Superintendent rolled out 52 new tests saying they were in preparation for the national testing to be rolled out in 2014.

The next blog or two will cover national testing and how the President and Congress intend to modify NCLB, which is up for reauthorization. It is a complicated story. For now, Katie Couric is a good place to begin. Sorry, no embed code was permitted. Please watch it here.


  1. Hi Sandra,
    Thanks for the comment on Missouri Education Watchdog. Wow. I had no idea parents were punished so severely in other states. We are trying to start a group here for next year to stop these type of tests being mandatory.
    Contact me a and we can chat!

    Thanks for your blog! It looks great!

  2. I am not a teacher but do remember what it was like to be a student and frankly, I was good at those old tests. I may be wrong but part of the problem is that today's students are not taught to think.

    They are also not taught the three R's as we used to call it. There is too much time being spent all year long preparing students to pass spring exams. I take issue with that.

  3. Puma - I agree with you. The "new generation" of tests would require lots of standardized computer-based tests along the way, kind of to measure the temperature of the students. They claim these tests will be more than filling in the bubble. Lots of promises and no price tag.

    I remember what it was like to be a student too and it was part of the teacher's job to create tests. I favor accountability, I am not against tests, but I am against obsessive, expensive overtesting that interferes with learning.