In this article, a Massachusetts blogger points out that it is time to do something about those unionized police and firefighters who have failed to stamp out crime and fires.
It is time to unleash innovation and turnaround the police precincts where crime is highest: close them down and allow the cops to reapply for their jobs.
America could be a perfectly crime-free, safe nation if only we turned public safety over to bankers and lawyers and entrepreneurs.
The initiative–which is known as No Citizen Left Behind–requires the investment of billions of dollars for data collection, data analysis, turnaround specialists, and retraining of the current workforce.
Unfortunately this is so close to the insane reality of federal education policy that it is easy to think that it is real, not satire.
Deborah Meier has been blogging recently with Michael Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
Deb is known as a progressive, Mike as a conservative. Deb was one of the founders of the small schools movement and a leader of opposition to standardized testing through her involvement in Fairtest. Mike strongly supports standardized testing, charter schools, and competition a drivers of change.
In his previous post, Mike asked Deb whether she was part of the problem (because of her opposition to standardized testing and her general skepticism towards what is called “reform” today, I.e., No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top).
This is a good exchange. I wonder if they can bridge their differences.
Deborah answered here. I won’t begin to summarize what she said. Let me just say that she is at her best and what she wrote about children, about the shrinking middle class, and about what schools can and cannot do. Please take the time to read what she wrote.
Officials in California have been meeting with Michael Fullan of Ontario to learn about the impressive improvements there.
Fullan wants to turn the state of California away from the carrots-and-sticks of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
The story linked her says:
“I want California to become an alternative model to No Child Left Behind; that would be a great thing to aspire to,” Fullan said last month during an interview in Sacramento. Instead of improvement through the “negative drivers” of standardized testing and quick school turnarounds, he would shift the focus to improving instruction through “motivational collaboration” between teachers and administrators.
Fullan believes that data should be used to improve, not to punish. What a novel idea! What would our Broad trained superintendents do if they were told to help teachers and schools, not to punish them?
Good grief! Fullan’s philosophy could cause the whole miserable, mean-spirited farce of federal policy to collapse.
Want to know more about Fullan? Read this.
His ideas might be powerful enough to beat the Billionaire Boys Club. They have this one important advantage: They work.
Bill Gates is wrong. American education is not “broken.”
Federal education policy is broken.
Testing children until they cry is a bad idea. It is educational malpractice.
Basing teachers’ evaluation, their salary, and their tenure on student test scores is a bad idea. It doesn’t work. It is professional malpractice. The Gates Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars trying to make it work. It doesn’t work. Arne Duncan has made it a cardinal principle of federal education policy. It doesn’t work.
Giving bonuses to teachers based on test scores is a failed idea. It has never worked. The U.S. Department of Education under Duncan put $1 billion into such programs. They fail.
Closing schools doesn’t make them better. It shatters communities and sends children to search for a school that will accept them. That’s federal policy. It’s wrong. It is wrong in Chicago and it is wrong everywhere else.
There is no such thing as a “failing school.” Schools are buildings. Buildings don’t fail. If the students in a school have low test scores, it is the responsibility of the superintendent to find out why and to supply the needed staff and resources to improve the school.
When schools struggle, it is the responsibility of the people at the top to help them, not to close them.
Federal education policy, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, is broken. It has failed. It must be changed.
Wayne Gersen has been working in several districts in Vermont. He is impressed by Vermont’s determination not to allow testing to be the be-all and end-all of education. The state is determined not to let NCLB wreck its schools and not to ask for a waiver that would allow Duncan to impose high-stakes testing. If only Obama did what Vermont does!
Valerie Strauss does an excellent job of deconstructing the disaster of Obama’s education policy.
Remember when candidate Obama in 2008 spoke of hope and change. That encouraged many educators to believe that No Child Left Behind would be ended, tossed into the dustbin of history, where it belongs.
Sadly, President Obama built his Race to the Top right on the flawed foundation of NCLB, and made teaching to the test a necessity.
As the for-profit charters proliferated, he said nothing.
As radical governors destroyed collective bargaining and teacher due process, he said nothing.
As cyber charters grew, garnering huge profits but terrible education, he said nothing.
As vouchers spread, he said nothing.
As privatization accelerated, he said nothing.
The very idea of a “race to the top” refutes the principle of equality of educational opportunity.
The Bush-Obama program will go down in history as a disastrous effort to force the children of America into a standardized mold, while unleashing free market forces to make big bucks with scarce dollars.
It will be held up as an example of what school reform is NOT.
Jason Stanford, a first-rate journalist in a texas, looks for the lessons in the meteoric rise and astonishing descent of Michelle Rhee.
The major lesson, he says, is not so much about her as about the deep flaws in the test-and-punish philosophy she embodied. Putting the squeeze on subordinates to raise test scores leads to all sorts of negative consequences, but not to good education.
The flaw is inherent in No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
Until we get a better vision of education, there will be more Beverly Halls and Michelle Rhees.
Randy Turner was suspended not for his Huffington Post article but for his book. This is why teachers need tenure: Academic freedom.
He sent this comment:
“Thanks for the kind words from everyone. My suspension coming at almost exactly the same time as my Huffington Post blog was a coincidence. Basically, it happened because I wrote a novel, No Child Left Alive, criticizing many of the practices in education today, particularly those done by overambitious administrators. I just finished posting the charges against me on my blog: http://rturner229.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-joplin-school-districts-charges.html
Matt DiCarlo here describes a paper that shows how utterly arbitrary NCLB is.
Some states look good.
Some states look very bad.
But the states that look bad may actually be outperforming the states that look good..
When will our policymakers acknowledge that NCLB is a harmful, destructive law that has wreaked havoc on American education?
Where Matt and I part company is this observation he concludes with: “…accountability systems can play a productive role in education, but this analysis demonstrates very clearly that, when it comes to the design and implementation of these systems, details matter. Seemingly trivial choices can have drastic effects on measured outcomes.”
No, accountability systems are not likely to play a productive number in education. NCLB is a disaster. Race to the Top is a double disaster.
Who will be held “accountable” for low test scores? Teachers? Students? Principals? Schools? Superintendents? Local school boards? Legislators? Governors? The U,S. Department of Education? Congress?
If you want to know how No Child Left Behind has injured our society’s most vulnerable children, read this heart-breaking story about the sanctions imposed on the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.
Written by a recently retired teacher at the school, it describes how the standardized testing regime struck the children and the school like a sledgehammer, causing it to be labeled Persistently Low Performing.
The story begins:
“I recently participated in the inspiring and informative webinar “How to Organize a Grassroots Group” put on by the Network for Public Education and the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education. I am a retired teacher of the deaf, having retired from the Rhode Island School for the Deaf in the fall of 2011 profoundly dismayed by the unreasonable sanctions placed on the school by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), headed by Deborah Gist (Broad Superintendents Academy 2008).”
Read this post and ask yourself how anyone associated with the punishments inflicted on this important school can sleep at night or look themselves in the mirror every morning without grimacing.
And the next time you hear a pundit or think tank jockey praise NCLB, tell them about the Rhode Island School for the Deaf.