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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

NCLB 2.0 / RT3 - What I like, What I don't, What I don't know

The New York Times article has outlined some of the discussion that will take place tomorrow as President Obama begins to pivot from health care to education.  I am assuming the NYT is actually correct in their preview.

What I Like

  1. Removing the "Pass-Fail" on schools whose students don't do well on tests.
  2. The 2014 deadline for proficiency by all students without regard to mental capability.
  3. The hope that schools will broaden their curriculum to maintain, reclaim, or include "art, history, science, physical education and other courses."
What I Don't Like
  1. The Direct Vagueness of this statement: “We’ve got to get accountability right this time,” Mr. Duncan told reporters Friday. “For the mass of schools, we want to get rid of prescriptive interventions. We’ll leave it up to them to figure out how to make progress.”  If I may paraphrase, it sounds like "Let's do this right! But we don't know how, so we will leave it to someone else, wait and see what happens, and then we'll decide if their actions can make us look good."
  2. Making this a mid-term election issue with the timing of August to "pass the law." Scaring parents into voting for your cronies by saying your kids will suffer if you don't.  Both parties will use this, and it should be condemned by all of us. Quit using kids as election tools.
  3. "The proposals would require states to use annual tests and other indicators"  statement smells of saying something that sounds right until you can determine what else to say.  What "other indicators" will be acceptable?
  4. Randi Weingarten...said of the proposal, “From everything that we’ve seen, this blueprint places 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers and gives them zero percent of the authority.”  Once again, this is simply a major flaw in all education reform. Teachers have little authority beyond the bathroom pass, but we are the dog who gets kicked when those responsible for making the laws fail to delegate a certain level of authority.
What I Don't Know
  1. I don't know why someone won't include the students in the accountability statement. President Obama, in his September 2009 speech to school children, said something like, "Your teachers and parents are doing what they can to help you, but you (students) have to decide to want an education too."  So why not include students who fail these test "and other indicators" in the accountability phase? 
  2. I don't know why parents are not held accountable when they do not fulfill their responsibility as a caring parent.

Tangential Note  -  This is not just a case of semantics.

I also don't like when writers, speakers, politicians, and anyone else equate, RESPONSIBILITY with ACCOUNTABILITY. These words are not interchangeable, nor are they synonyms. One is not "HELD RESPONSIBLE" for a decision.  They are "HELD ACCOUNTABLE" for their responsibility.  "Held responsible" doesn't even make sense. 

For example:
Angry Parent:  Who is responsible for this watered-down, weak, teach-to-the test curriculum!?
Teacher: The President, Secretary of Education, U.S. Congress, Governors, and the State Congress is responsible for setting the rules under which we must function.
Angry Parent:  That's not what I mean! They don't teach my kids! Who can I yell at!?
Teacher: Well, believe it or not, even though I had no say, was not even asked, I am the one who is yelled at for their decisions.  I am held accountable for their decisions.
Less Angry Parent: That don't make no sense!
Teacher: I know, but this is America.  No one is accountable in the government anymore. Could that be why they have down-graded Social Studies, History, Government and other social sciences...they don't want you to really know how the system works?

Posted via email from Murry's World

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