Blue Cereal Education is the name of an educator-blogger in the Tulsa area. He or she has helpfully reproduced a graphic from the website of the Oklahoma State Department of Education that will show you, in a flash, how teaching and learning are being systematically destroyed in this country by robots who pretend to be humans.
It is called “Ms. Bullen’s Data-Rich Year,” but it might as well be called “The End of Teaching as We Know It As we Collect Data and Pretend It Matters.”
Here are a few of the 15 steps to a data-rich classroom:
“(7) You are expected to create an IEP for each and every one of your students before school even begins! (Step Two) Setting aside the fact that this is insane, it’s still nine full steps before Step Eleven, where an ‘early warning system’ (which appears to be an iPad app) will send an alert to a strange man in the room that Joey is off-track, or failing. Presumably the strange man will tell Ms. Bullen, who can call Joey’s very involved parents in to look at the full-sized mural she’s devoted to the Chutes & Ladders version of Joey’s educational journey. Thank god there’s finally a way to know when students are failing – other than the fact that they’re, for example, failing.
“(8) You are expected to immediately discard the approximately 170 IEP’s you’ve spent weeks creating so you can “adjust instruction on the fly” (Step Three) based solely and exclusively on the perceived reactions of Joey. We can only hope the 34 other students in the room are not offended at the impact this must have on their individualized learning experience. At the same time, this is a great moment – it’s the only point in All 18 Steps that assumes for even an instant that you (represented here by Ms. Bullen) have any idea what you’re doing without consulting a few dozen spreadsheets of data. But don’t worry – you won’t be stuck teaching ‘on the fly’ for long!
“(9) You will have plenty of time to meet one on one with each of your students (Step Six) to discuss their behavior, attendance data (which is different from attendance… how?), and performance, as well as what Joey’s parents want for him – during the one moment in which is overly involved parents are conspicuously absent. You’ll set some individualized goals for the year to replace that IEP you developed before you met him, then threw out in Step Three.
“Assuming you have approximately 168 students, and that each of these meetings take about 10 minutes, that’s only about… 28 hours each week. Or is it each month? I’m not sure how often this one is supposed to happen. Let’s assume it’s just once – it’s not like Joey’s performance, behavior, goals, or attendance are likely to change throughout the year. So we’ll just use that extra 28 hours floating around during, say… October. Nothing that important happens in October anyway.
“(10) I’m not sure what “Data Coaches” are (Step Seven), although each school apparently has several (they must share office space with all the Tutors and Trainers – no wonder Oklahoma schools are so darned inefficient with how they spend district money!) Apparently while teachers celebrate their one collective decent idea, the Data Coaches do some sort of ceremonial handshake – or perhaps it’s a dance. I’m not familiar with that culture, but I’d really like to see that. There simply aren’t enough dances based on hard educational data.”
Now that is only four of the 15 steps that the State Education Department includes in its graphic.
Taken together, the graphic demonstrates a system that cares nothing about education, nothing about children, and nothing about teachers.
Perhaps it was put together by a computer or by someone who wants to promote home schooling.