We are now in the dangerous era of FORCE & FLUNK when it comes to children and reading. Here’s how it works. FORCE A frenzy surrounding reading is caused by school reformers and the media…
There is a new book out with a title that in eight words explains a good part of the mess that school reform based on standardized tests has been in recent years. The title is “The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better,” and the author is Daniel Koretz, the Henry Lee Shattuck professor of education at Harvard University. Koretz is an expert on educational assessment and testing policy, and he has focused his work on the consequences of high-stakes testing. Before going into academia, he taught emotionally disturbed students in public elementary and junior high schools.
The school “accountability movement” has relied in large part on standardized test scores to evaluate students, schools, teachers, principals and districts. It started under the No Child Left Behind Act, which went into effect in 2002 under President George W. Bush, grew during the Obama administration and is continuing with somewhat less fervor today.
The movement led to classrooms dominated by test prep and a severe narrowing of the curriculum to a primary focus on subjects being testing: reading and math. More and more tests were piled on during the school year, eventually sparking a grass-roots resistance nationwide in which parents opted their children out of tests. Even some supporters of using high-stakes tests as a key assessment tool came to realize that the movement had gone too far.
There are big questions that remain about the test-based accountability movement, including who allowed it to happen.
Oral arguments before the state Supreme Court have been set for the afternoon of Nov. 8 in MEA’s long-running 3 percent retirement case. The calendar of arguments was posted Tuesday afternoon.
MEA has waged a court battle for seven years seeking the return of money unilaterally taken by the state from school employees’ paychecks. Gov. Rick Snyder has chosen to appeal previous court rulings that ordered the return of $550 million taken from school employees from 2010-12.
Both the trial court and Court of Appeals agreed the law which unilaterally deducted money from school employees’ paychecks violated state and federal constitutional protections involving the taking of private property without compensation, due process, and impairment of contracts.
Limited public seating is available for proceedings in Michigan’s Supreme Court. Stay tuned for more from MEA on this important hearing.
According to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), adults with a college degree are 10 percentage points more likely to be employed, and will earn 56% more on average than adults who only completed the end of high school. They are less likely to suffer from depression than their less-educated peers.
The US has always enjoyed a huge advantage in higher-ed attainment. In 2000, 43% of 25-34 year olds had a college education compared to an average of 26% in the 35 OECD member countries. But that advantage is quickly closing. In 2016, it was down to four points, with 48% of Americans following through to higher ed. And Americans now have to compete in an increasingly competitive global workforce.
American teachers lag in salary
According to the report, Education at a Glance 2017, US teachers, on average, earn less than 60% of the salaries of similarly-educated workers. They have among the lowest relative earnings across all OECD countries with data. This is what teachers’ salaries, relative to that of other college-educated adults looks like in 24 of the OECD’s 35 countries…
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made headlines this week at Harvard University. I’m still confused as to why Harvard invited her to speak at an event allegedly focused on public education–she never attended a public school, never sent her own children to a public school, never studied education, and has never taught anyone anything–and the reaction to her talk suggests that a lot of folks agree with me.
Perhaps because Betsy doesn’t know much about schools…or students…or teachers…or education, she tends to reach for analogies for what schools are like that just don’t make much sense. Her last tortured analogy was that schools should be run like Uber…
“How many of you got here today in an Uber, or Lyft, or another ridesharing service? Did you choose that because it was more convenient than hoping a taxi would drive by? Even if you didn’t use a ridesharing service, I’m sure most of you at least have the app on your phone.
Just as the traditional taxi system revolted against ridesharing, so too does the education establishment feel threatened by the rise of school choice. In both cases, the entrenched status quo has resisted models that empower individuals.
Nobody mandates that you take an Uber over a taxi, nor should they. But if you think ridesharing is the best option for you, the government shouldn’t get in your way.”
Betsy’s analogy here conveniently ignores the fact that taxi companies are not remotely “like” public schools.
I love math, but I know that I’m unusual. Math anxiety is a rampant problem across the country. Researchers now know that when people with math anxiety encounter numbers, a fear center in the brain lights up — the same fear center that lights up when people see snakes or spiders. Anxiety is not limited to low-achieving students. Many of the undergraduates I teach at Stanford University, some of the most successful students in the nation, are math traumatized. In recent interviews, students have told me that learning math in school was like being on a “hamster wheel” — they felt like they were running and running, without reaching any meaningful destination. A seventh grader told me that math learning was like prison, because his mind felt “locked up.”
The problem is the performance culture in our schools, more present in math than in any other subject.