Kevin Carey, of the “independent” and “innovative” Education Sector, didn’t have the decency to defame me by name when he attacked the cover story, School Wars, I wrote for the current issue of Good Magazine.
It’s ironic to be accused of “policy juvenalia” in a blog oh so cleverly entitled “Bad Magazine.”
In a time when smart people of good faith occupy both sides of many heated and complex education debates, it makes sense occasionally to pause, take a deep breath, and denounce things like the incoherent mishmash of policy juvenalia, useless sentiment, and blatant lies found in this article, published by GOOD Magazine, in which we are told that NCLB “requires all of the nation’s schoolchildren to be above the mean on standardized tests,” Bill Gates and Eli Broad are spearheading the corporate conspiracy to privatize K-12 education, and standardized tests come with instructions about what to do if students throw up on them. It’s sort of a perfect distillation of woolly-minded HuffPost-type conventional education wisdom, and in that sense is oddly valuable, because you can read it and know everything that a not-inconsequential percentage of people know (or rather, don’t know) about education.
It’s not “useless sentiment” to care about children.
Ever since President Bush told me to “use the Google,” I have found it to be an indispensable tool for learning all sorts of interesting things. One thing I learned when I clicked on the “Who We Are” link on the Education Sector web site was that the “independent” and “innovative” Education Sector is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Eli Broad.
It is awfully refreshing to see such “independent” and “innovative” analysts strenuously defending their sugar daddies. It’s kind of sweet.
For the record, my article was carefully fact-checked by Good Magazine. In fact, a good deal of my juiciest stuff about Eli Broad was left on the cutting-room floor. Stay tuned, keep reading and don’t forget to follow the money!
Note: You may read the Quick and the Ed attack on my article here.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.
9 thoughts on “They Hate Me, They Really Really Hate Me!”
So you are saying the money is tainting his opinion of your opinions? Hmm. Clever. Glad you called him on it. Not sure you will hear anymore out of him.
And, yes, they hate anyone who lets the truth out of the bag. Keep it up.
Education Sector and other Washington “think tanks” are largely funded by people and organizations more interested in maintaining the status quo than in meaningful change.
That’s especially true of those who loudly support No Child Left Behind. They firmly believe the core philosophy of NCLB which is that the structure of our education system is just fine. Improvement in student learning (aka test scores) will come if educators just work harder at drilling the material. And, of course, if politicians slap us around from time to time.
You hit too many sensitive buttons in your article (I finally found a paper copy 🙂 which is why a group like this is criticizing your ideas.
Just to clarify: NCLB requires that all students be declared proficient in reading and math, a mathematic possibility, NOT that all children be above the mean, a mathematic impossibility.
“Proficiency” is defined by each state and is based on whether students have mastered grade level content.
It is very possible for all students to master grade level content.
Since most states define proficiency based on norm-reference standardized tests, the result is the Lake Wobegon-effect I refer to in my article.
NCLB has been a strong proponent of such deeply flawed tests.
>> Jacob: Just to clarify: NCLB requires that all students be declared proficient in reading and math, a mathematic possibility, NOT that all children be above the mean, a mathematic impossibility.
NCLB also requires all children to arrive at the same place at the same time according to their chronological age. Even without many studies to back them up, any teacher will tell you that the kids they work with are all individuals who learn at different rates and in different ways.
One of the biggest problem with NCLB is that it writes into law the assumption that every student, every teacher, every classroom, every school is identical and thus requires the same standardized prescription when it comes to when it comes to their educational needs. We know very well this is not true.
Which states define proficiency based on norm-reference standardized tests?
I know that many states have used norm-referenced growth models to supplement their proficiency measurements, but I was unaware any state had scrapped proficiency all together.
California. CAT6 is a norm-reference test.
Richard & Gary
While small groups of students in California take the CAT6, it is used as a minor part of calculating API, not AYP. NCLB compliance is determined by student performance on the California Standards Test (CST), which are criterion referenced tests fully aligned to state standards.
Like Jacob, and I imagine, most others, I'd be very curious to learn which states base NCLB compliance on norm-referenced tests. I'm less interested in learning which states include them as part of the battery of assessments — of the existence of such tests I have no doubt — but specifically, in which states is AYP calculated by a norm-referenced test?
Just catching up on my reading, Gary, and I found your article fun reading. Thank you!
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