Thursday, March 4, 2010

Re-thinking already?

Maybe "already" is the wrong word. It has been, after all, almost two decades or more since America's tepid voyage into standards based accountability gained traction.
So it's not surprising that some people are re-thinking their enthusiasm. Diane Ravitch is one of them.
After three years of teaching in Baltimore City Public Schools (at both a public middle school and a public charter elementary\middle school) I have a a certain sympathy for Ravitch's about face. The Maryland State Assessment, and linking the future of a school's existence to their results on the test, has led to a paucity of imagination in curriculum. Middle school instruction in low performing schools has literally been reduced to the teaching of isolated skills. This, I hope is obvious to see, is indeed a tragedy and even an outrage. Does that mean standards based accountability is the real problem? I think you have to look further and deeper. We should not expect a simple conclusion.
I just hope that Ravitch doesn't give up the ghost entirely. Unions, and the public school bureaucracy continues to cripple the education system more than any other curriculum or standardized test.

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