I’ve been wrestling with what would work as an American collective narrative, what could unite us in investing and supporting public education the way we should. The Finnish people appear to agree collectively on a narrative of equity, for example.
Turning the mirror back on the United States, we’d like to believe that Americans could gather around this same call of equity. In reality though, Americans prefer a narrative of meritocracy. We tell rags-to-rich stories of folks, such as Bill Gates, for example. This so-called poor man who came from nothing and built an empire attended one of the most privileged boarding schools in the nation; the college he dropped out of was a small university — Harvard. Gates had access to a computer when few people even really knew what computers were. The reality of his narrative is really one of privilege, connections, and access.
So, what might be a narrative Americans could rally around? I’ve come to believe that perhaps personalization is the answer. (read more…)
New York is the first state to “align” their standardized testing program to what they believe to be the intent of the Common Core State Standards. Their 2013 test, designed by Pearson, was administered over three days in mid-April to grades 3-8.
Within the first two days of testing stories emerged that students were in sessions crying, leaving rooms ill, and not finishing. Teachers complained of confusing questions and overly challenging passages that did not match the grade for which they were created. In one response, Merryl Tisch, the State Board of Regents Chancellor who oversaw the creation of NYS’s testing program, said she visited schools during testing and reported that she only saw “one” student crying and believes that children not being able to finish the test is a “healthy problem.”
The conversation: What we gain and what we lose with current testing
I am not [yet] suggesting all of this testing is terrible, because honestly I do not know. (read more…)
Our nation is deep in a conversation about the role of standardized testing in our education system. Where are we now?
It is more than a decade since NCLB reforms gave us annual testing and required schools to publicly report their data. In general, individual state scores increased during that time (though this conclusion is not without controversy).
So cause for cheers, yes? Hooray America! Marching band down Fifth Avenue!
Why no! — record scratch — the United States is far behind in international achievement and our domestic growth is stunted.
At least that’s what we’ve been told recently. ExxonMobil has been running this commercial. Media outlets report our international comparisons, the Common Core State Standards cite international testing as influential in their development, and Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein (of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.) dramatically cited our failures to compete globally in their “U.S. Education Reform and National Security” report. (read more…)