Friday, March 25, 2011

In Opposition to Test-Destruction of Public Schooling

  1.  1.  Many voices worth hearing (e.g., Diane Ravitch, Darling-Hammond) have been shouting that this testing/assessment/standards/etc thing is not in the interest of education. 

    2.     Politicians on all sides are not listening.  Instead, they blame and bully education in order to distract the public from the economic problems, poverty, war, etc.

    3.     High stakes assessment is too expensive to do well. 

    4.     Teacher judgment is the only viable guide to status and development of learning.  Authentic indicators like portfolio are the only ones worth doing.

    5.     Informing and shaping teacher judgment happens best through professional development along the lines of National Writing Project practices and depends on the kind of infrastructure that NWP has in place.

    6.     The role of technology is increasingly vital in Professional Development work and in student learning.

    7.     Digital media is also the means to influence political action and that returns to the first and second points.  To change policy we may need to produce digital media that can reach public opinion and then influence politicians.

I think even China knows more than to look "up" to current US policy on education.  They know from experience that reliance on high-stakes testing is a flop.  So they look to other countries like Finland who trust teachers rather than treat them like robots who have to be directed by computer results and programs.

Continued investment in more and “better” testing is a waste of time.  It’s destructive and produces cynicism.  We know better.  I’m not interested in spending my time there.  I do realize that most policy makers don’t agree with me and that changing their minds might be a worthwhile project for persons who want to try.  I'm working at step 5, 6, and maybe 7.