The Slippery Slope of Standards-Based Education

The Standoff in Idaho Over Science Standards Reveals The Slippery Slope of Standards-Based Education

Co-authored by Idahoans Mary Ollie, Mila Woods, and Victoria M. Young

The uproar over Idaho’s proposed science standards is a grand demonstration of ideology blinding us to our reality. And the push for headlines and sound bites trumped technical aspects of standards design. The process became an exercise in frustration that could easily have been avoided by making a distinction between a standard – what students should know and do— and content— what is taught.

The art and science behind writing standards matters also.

Why is the difference important? At the beginning of the standards-based education craze, Idahoans were sold on the idea of “Standards of Excellence” (then known as “exiting” standards).

The promise was that state standards would not infringe on local control of curriculum (subject content and how it is taught). State standards were to serve as minimum educational requirements, not an all-encompassing system of control.

Due to lack of legislative and administrative oversight and accountability, the outcome-based (standards) movement spawned a series of word changes that has gradually closed the door on local control.

“Exiting” standards became “achievement” standards (corresponding to the foundation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB)) and were eventually labeled in Idaho Code as Idaho “Content” Standards. With our focus on federal NCLB overreach, we couldn’t see our own State overstepping their bounds through a flawed administrative rule approval process.

Why is this discrepancy between standards and content just now surfacing? Only the proposed science standards contain language that clearly describes content. Idaho “Content” Standards for other disciplines do not include supporting content. They are a set of performance targets — true standards.

Our 2017 proposed administrative rules for the science standards included supporting content. That inclusion is problematic. That’s where the discussion went south.

Think before you step on the slippery slope.

Supporting content does not belong in a legislated standards document. Legislative overreach occurred. And lacking an understanding of the nuances of standards and content, state and local control, and a proper process for standards development, the public couldn’t adequately sort out and debate the topic—or see the truth.

The reality? The Idaho Legislature did not reject five science “standards.” Only one performance standard was rejected. Four of the items were supporting content. They went beyond being just a standard. Content was at the heart of the controversy.

Scientific knowledge is ever-changing. What we know today may change tomorrow.

Education content should not be subjected to our politicized lawmaking process.
A state entity defining supporting content is micromanaging education. The Legislature needs to step back and look at what has been done. In a country where liberty is a founding principle, legislating education content puts us on the slippery slope sliding away from local control — towards State control.

If school districts and teachers need supporting content for resources or inspiration; sources are easy to find. Content should conform, locally, to meeting the needs of students, not to complying with a too-often politically motivated mandate.

Limit the role of the State to defining performance standards and leave successful achievement of and beyond standards to the local districts.

Until the light goes on and the public sees that standards-based (aka outcome-based) education has not definitively reform a single school, we will continue to waste time and resources on arguing over and implementing new standards rather than investing fully in our schools and their students.

Being able to see the slippery slope is the first step to doing no further harm, to the public education system of Idaho and the nation, due to the deceptive nature of standards-based education.

Stuck in the Muck: Trapped in Outcome-Based Reforms that Don’t Work

If President Trump drained the swamp, we would still be stuck in the muck.

Cartoon provided by Ben Garrison. Visit his site at GrrrGraphics!

Still waiting on leaders to fix health care? And how many decades have we listened to talk about fixing the education system? But, did you know that both these systems are suffering from the same problem?

“Make America great again”? We can’t do that without understanding what changed America. Until then, we spin our wheels, dig ourselves in deeper, and allow the expanding swamp to be refilled.

The problem? We switched drivers — from leaders believing in progress to those driven by outcome-based data, money, and their own arrogance. Our drivers own the world and dictate the rules.

We the People? We don’t know which way to turn. But even if we did, we can’t move forward because we’re stuck in the muck.

Health care, social security, the justice system, the environment, education, on and on — all the major social problems are being kicked down the road. And we are stuck in debt up to our eyeballs while our social safety net develops ever-widening holes.

Most of the holes were created by us and what we don’t know.

In the health care debate, what aren’t we hearing?

“The physicians say the increased use of quality metrics to assess provider performance is having a negative impact on quality of care. Far fewer (22 percent) see quality metrics as having a positive impact on quality.

Nearly half (47 percent) of physicians and just over a quarter (27 percent) of nurse practitioners and physician assistants say the recent trends in healthcare are leading them to consider an earlier retirement.”

Source: NPR Suicides are up. Tracking outcomes isn’t what these people needed us to do.

Physicians and teachers are facing the same problems.

Where we once had community hospitals (schools), we now have health care (charter) management organizations. They control a data-driven system with an eye towards cost-cutting through technology. The technology industry and health treatment (education market) industries are flourishing.

People? We aren’t doing so well. Not only are teens and middle-aged men killing themselves at alarming rates, Americans in general are not as happy as we once were.

We know we need to address heath care. But we seem unaware of how desperately we need to consider real education reform as a national priority.

If we can’t gain control of our own local school systems, what hope do we have of solving our other more complex problems?

When leaders put Standards Based Reforms (SBR) in federal education law, we were trapped in the education metrics of outcome-based reforms.

Once we drop the fallacy that Standards-Based Reforms are a silver bullet, true education reform will be possible.

Statistics now prove what many believe. Standards don’t ensure student achievement. The focus on monitoring outcomes ignores the problems created by separate and unequal schools.

The misconception is that setting “higher, better” standards improves schools. It doesn’t.

Do you know why No Child Left Behind (NCLB) didn’t improve schools? SBR. And the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) perpetuates the same problem. SBR.

“Now we risk setting national curriculum standards instead of recognizing that children need us to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and work with them to attain a level of mastery of the classroom curriculum as outlined in a locally agreed upon instructional framework.

This isn’t a philosophy that gets away from being held accountable to a standard; it’s one that is responsible for meeting the needs of the individual student along with educational standards.” The Crucial Voice of the People

That is a description of standards-referenced education, not standards-based (NOT the Outcome-Based Theory).

But the country is stuck because our tax dollars for education continue to be spent on SBR, not invested in us.

“We’re stuck because our focus, our funding priorities, and our personal beliefs and attitudes are failing to serve our country.

We are stuck in the standardization of children ditch because we set test scores as our goal—in law and in the minds of Americans.” The Crucial Voice of the People

Metrics rule. Plus, we have not listened to people with a passion for teaching and compassion for children.

“In the last several years, with the continuing emphasis on using data to drive instruction, I find myself increasingly skeptical about what we do to ‘benefit’ students. …

Data seems to be the driver of much educational policy today, even when it means we force students into increased time with their weakest subjects, and excluding content that might intrigue them.  We marvel at the lack of engagement while we simultaneously impose rigid interventions…

I’m very concerned that our fixation on data has become more important than the engagement of students in topics that might lead them to important self-realizations of competency…  It often feels like teachers are working in a system designed for disengagement, while at the same time being evaluated on their skill at maintaining engagement!

Regardless of my knowledge or enthusiasm, I’m still expected to march as a good soldier with what I see as an archaic system…

Our current models mean we–teachers, administrators, and students–fixate more on ‘grades’ than learning.  I can no longer grow as an educator when I feel confined by parameters that fail to prioritize self-discovery and lifelong learning–for all of us.” — Cindy McDonald (A Now Retired Teacher)

We are losing compassionate and passionate public servants. Our public services are trapped in the metrics of Outcome-Based Reforms because we aren’t controlling how our money is spent.

The more automated our human services become, the less service we are providing to humans. People are getting frustrated and blaming the government.

But consider this. The government is not run by people representative of us. Our government is run by the rich, ultra-rich, and the greedy who are willing to look the other way when it comes to using our lawmaking process for their own benefit. Palms are being greased. The “grease” keeps the swamp slimy.

And it is the arrogance of these ultra-rich people, telling us what is best for us, that we should no longer tolerate.

We’re the ones that need to roll up our sleeves and drain the swamp.

To clean House, we need an election revolution every two years until we’re no longer stuck but rather making real progress again.

Start in The House.

In writing about the House of Representatives, James Madison said, “They in a word hold the purse” (Federalist No. 58).

The Constitution: Article I SECTION. 7 “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…”

“The greater the power is, the shorter ought to be its duration” (Federalist No. 52: Madison). Thus, Article I SECTION. 2 “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People…”

One solution offered in Restoring American Happiness is greater public financing of health and education. And we must invest wisely.

We need to control the purse…

“As the people are the only legitimate fountain of power” (Federalist No. 49: Madison), we are central to our own progress as a nation. And to restrain the House requires “above all the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it (Federalist No. 57: Madison).”

Call it an electoral revolt or call it an election revolution. Call it what you will. It is what our nation’s fathers directed us to do. It will nourish progress.

We filled the swamp; we can drain it. And we can refill it with representatives that will invest in the human side of both health care and education….or we drain it again…in two years time.

Distinguishing Truth from Deception

Public education in America is at risk as long as mass deception can continue unchecked.

When it comes to education policies and the organizations and individuals pushing their agendas into law, the public is ill-equipped to distinguish truth from deception because of a long history of misinterpretation of statistics, massive misinformation, and outright political deception.

Truth: Schools must continuously be improving themselves.

That truth is based on the premise that the public education system faces ever-changing obstacles to offering equal educational opportunities — changing student populations, changing demographics of the students, turnover of school personnel, and a multitude of variables are demanding schools be responsive to societal pressures of all kinds. Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 11.15.21 AM

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Truth: The public schools have made progress despite economic and political upheaval. Notable improvements were made in the 70’s through 90’s and is continuing but at a slowed pace.

 

Truth: Current education reform policies are based on deception.

Education reform became a problem when politicians took the reins and their driving premise required deception. As Douglass Cater, an adviser to President Johnson, explained,

“I think one of the major problems of politics is that [it] takes a fairly recognized crisis before the government is able to come to grips with …a problem in a policy area…”

Plus, there was fear that the general public would not stay involved in public school improvement unless there was an urgent need – a crisis. But this line of reasoning is no excuse for the mass deception that followed.

Policymakers of the 80’s moved forward with half-truths to put in motion an ideologically driven education reform agenda — standards, testing, and accountability based on achievement tests — the outcome-based theory that we can judge schools based on test scores.

And because the theory was intentionally marketed and the lies repeated so often, the deception became the public’s truth. Repeatedly, we acted on that “truth.”

So briefly, here’s how we Americans allowed ourselves to be deceived. Keep in mind, the public education system tends to be a reflection of society. A brief history of “the times” is necessary.

  • “The 1960s were years of protest and reform.”… people worked together for social improvement particularly for minorities, the poor, and women.
  • “The period of change came during the 1970s…an economic recession. Interest rates and inflation were high. There was a shortage of imported oil.”
  • “As the 1970s moved toward the 1980s, Americans became tired of social struggle…many wanted to spend more time on their own personal interests…It affected popular culture, education, and politics.”
  • “The 1980s were called the Reagan years, because he was president for eight of them….the recession ended….[creating] “the ‘me’ generation” and “yuppies”. Both these groups seemed as if they lived just to make and spend money, money, and more money.”

With the mentality of the 80’s firmly focused on making money, public institutions reflecting society, and “the origins of the standards movement in American education [being] largely economic,” the idea of standards and testing as a quick way to judge schools was an easy sell to busy parents.

Deception: Standardized test scores accurately judge the quality of education.

The problem is, standardized tests were NEVER proven to be a great judge of quality education and our standards were NEVER proven to be the main problem. That’s where the deception comes in — over the two major factors upon which we now base not only accountability of the system, but also our theory of improvement. And we continue to ignore real solutions.

Deception: Test scores should be used to compare and rank schools.

To understand the ruse behind the misuse of test scores, you have to understand Simpson’s paradox. Like most of you, I am not a statistician so don’t let this scare you off. Basically, this paradox can happen when comparing two or more groups. A statistical trend may reverse or disappear when the groups are combined. At a glance, it is very counter-intuitive but is one reason why statistics are so susceptible to misuse and abuse.

So when we look at combined scores or average scores, we can follow trends but it is not advisable to base decisions on scores alone without further analysis and interpretation.

Deception: Based on test scores, the United States is failing educationally and it will require us to totally transform the system.

The country set course on the outcome-based theory without being fully informed. Politicians told us after the release of A Nation At Risk, in 1983, that we were falling far behind internationally. But, international scores are reported as combined numbers leaving the public unable to detect any deceptive use of those numbers…unable to think through the effect that Simpson’s paradox might be having on our conclusions and therefore our actions.

At one point, we could have stopped this. In 1991, Sandia National Laboratories scientists took on the analysis of education data and they interpreted what they saw in addition to critiquing proposed education policies. Apparently, politicians didn’t like what these researchers had to say.

On our reported decline in SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores, researchers said…

“More people in America are aspiring to achieve a college education than ever before, so the national SAT average is lowered as more students in the 3rd and 4th quartiles of their high school classes take the test. This phenomenon, known as Simpson’s paradox…”

So we need to understand the story behind all numbers. We need to ask, “WHY”? And we need to understand the effect of poverty on our education statistics.Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.40.42 PMThis is not to say we can’t do more to educate children of poverty. This is to point out how deceptive numbers can be and to ask the question, have our reforms focused on the right things?

On our international test scores, Sandia researchers said,…

“The major differences in education systems and cultures across countries diminish the value of these single-point comparisons.”

In other words, international scores should not hold great significance in our decision-making and now would be the time to question why we are allowing the United States education system to be standardized through international “benchmarking.”

Why would we do that when the truth is…

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Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries can be seen here.

This information is from The Condition of Education 2015. Why isn’t the media reporting on the actual condition of education? Why isn’t Congress and the president basing decisions on the truth?

The truths revealed in the Sandia Report never got public attention through either our government or media so the deception of statistics rolled on for decades.

“Seldom in the course of policymaking in the U.S. have so many firm convictions held by so many been based on so little convincing proof.” Clark Kerr, President Emeritus, University of California

Truth: The varying quality of state standards and assessments does not correlate with student achievement as judge by our nation’s gold standard of tests, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

The blue dots represent NAEP scores with Basic meaning meets “grade-level expectations” or “C” level work. The red squares represent the "rigor" of each states standards as compared to NAEP. Student achievement does not appear to depend on the rigor of a states standards and assessments. Information supplied by NAEP expert, Bert Stoneberg.

The blue dots represent NAEP scores with Basic meaning meets “grade-level expectations” or “C” level work. The red squares represent the “rigor” of each states standards assessments as compared to NAEP. Student achievement does not appear to depend on the rigor of a states standards and assessments. Other graphs and explanations are provided by NAEP expert Bert Stoneberg.

If the variability of state standards and assessments do not affect overall student achievement, why are we focusing money, time, and effort on changing standards and tests as THE first step in improvement? It’s the wrong step. It makes no sense.

We were deceived into thinking that standards are all-important. We were deceived into thinking they were crucial to improvement. Truth: Common standards were not identified as necessary in producing effective schools. That research finding has never been disputed and is now once again proven to be true.

America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages

Is America’s choice the Marc Tucker plan? High skills or low wages are the only choices being offered? Care to look at the details of this plan?

For those unfamiliar with Mr. Tucker, Lynn M. Stuter describes him as “an avid supporter of and advocate for systems education, known also by a plethora of names, the most notable being outcome-based education. Other names include performance-based education (PBE), competency-based education (CBE), outcomes driven developmental model (ODDM), and outcomes-driven education (ODE).”

The Tucker plan is explained by the Eagle Forum as being “designed on the German system, the Tucker plan is to train children in specific jobs to serve the workforce and the global economy…” And the Forum goes on to outline the policies that have supported the plan thus far.

The Tucker plan centers on national standards, assessments, and certifications for “mastery”; it is the outcome-based theory taken to an extreme and tied securely to the labor force through data systems.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/09/24/05summit.h34.html

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/09/24/05summit.h34.html

The history is sometimes hard to follow because the “organizations” and their “projects” change names on a regular basis. But many agree that a pivotal point in “the plan” moving forward was “a two-day summit at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on Sept. 27-28, 1989.

What began at Charlottesville was a long march of a bipartisan [movement] to fundamentally change the system,” said Mr. Tucker, who served as an unofficial consultant to the cadre of officials involved in developing the goals [America 2000]. “It had good results and bad, but it survived changes in administration in a way that few things did. It was not A Nation at Risk that did that. It was Charlottesville.”

For us, this is one more demonstration of “the influential” pushing policy forward. From New York where “Rochester schools were the designated laboratories for an experiment in nationalizing education,” the Tucker plan quickly spread to D.C.

HEADLINE NEWS: New American Schools Development Corporation (page 75) The National Alliance for Restructuring Education “has as its 
goal a Total Quality Management (TQM), output-driven, performance-oriented system of education with students meeting high national achievement standards.”

Based on the perception (one later disproved by the Sandia Report) that a “strong general education” was lacking in our country, the Tucker plan gained steam with the publication of America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages.

Over and over the same words were used, the same reasoning given, and the same plan explained. As Ira Magaziner and Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated:

“We grow by having every American worker produce more…

A new educational performance standard should be set for all students, to be met at or around 16. This standard should be established nationally and benchmarked to the highest in the world….”

The vision is based on “a national examination system” like the “New Standards Project.” When students pass the test, they are awarded a “Certificate of Initial Mastery.” Technical and professional training “would be offered across the entire range of services and manufacturing occupations” because training by employers was seen as “lacking” so the government would take over through the new public school system and “public technical assistance” – according to the Tucker plan.

This is a “total system” of school to work. Dropouts? No. “Children should not be permitted to work before the age of 18 unless they have a Certificate of Initial Mastery or are enrolled in a program to obtain it (America’s Choice, page 6).

The Tucker plan was further clarified in his personal letter to Hillary Clinton where he shares what his ideal system would look like.

Dear Hillary

…We think the great opportunity you have is to remold the entire American system for human resources development…

…We have a national system of education in which curriculum, pedagogy, examinations, and teacher education and licensure systems are all linked to the national standards…

…We have a system that rewards students who meet the national standards with further education and good jobs, providing them a strong incentive to work hard in school…

…All students are guaranteed that they will have a fair shot at reaching the standards: that is, that whether they make it or not depends on the effort they are willing to make, and nothing else…

The letter is very detailed leaving no doubt that the vision is for one system to be “regulated on the basis of outcomes that providers produce for their clients, not inputs into the system.”

Giving children “a fair shot”?

Add to this the plan to have  “All available front-line jobs — whether public or private — must be listed in it [The Labor Market System] by law.”

This is a vision for developing a totalitarian education/labor system. “The State” (my quotation marks here) will hold total authority over standards, testing, certification, and job placement – of the American children. This is America’s choice?

With access to quality education still left up to luck and location, this is “a fair shot’? Really?

25 years after the Charlottesville, Virginia meeting, is it possible that these people, that are paid to think, put all our chips on the wrong vision for America? Did they ever stop to think about that?

Our "chips"; our plan?

Our “chips”; our plan?

But, we should not hang Marc Tucker out to dry alone; he had plenty of support in his efforts…too numerous to mention today.

The big question is, what does America think of the Tucker plan? And do we see its similarities to The Common Core?

Time to make a choice, America.

Quit gambling, or keep betting on the same outcome-based theory that has a 30 year history of no returns on investment.

STANDARDIZED & PRIVATIZED

Are Americans sure they want a standardized and privatized system of “public” schools? Does the public understand what is happening?

Dismantling through standardization and privatization. That is what is being done using

Hard to See. That's why they call it Hidden Privatization.

Hard to See. That’s why they call it Hidden Privatization.

the crowbar of outcome-based “reforms.”

Long ago political leaders of both parties began allowing and fostering policies that the arrogant and greedy have used to their advantage and to our detriment. We are allowing a widely recognized destructive and over-reaching federal law —No Child Left Behind (NCLB)—to go unchecked and unchanged. (As of December 2015 the name was changed to the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA- but it is still an outcome-based (test-based) federal law.

NCLB celebrated its 12th birthday. It is officially six years overdue for revision—according to its own statute. Why? Is it because Congress can’t get it right, or, is the law doing exactly what it was meant to do?

What we know it did:
1.    Narrowed the curriculum,
2.    Produced cheating scandals,
3.    Gave use data without real results,
4.    Diminished local control and divided communities.

What we know it did NOT do:
1.    Increase accountability for results,
2.    Narrow the achievement gap.

It appears that NCLB also opened the policy door for full standardization and privatization with policies promoted as putting “students first” and the latest new tool for undermining the system — Common Core.

The Idaho task force recommendations* rely heavily on Common Core, the Luna Laws, and outcome-based theory (upon which NCLB was based). R&D – research and development (not Republicans and Democrats) – recommends differently.

*Note: Idaho has its Governor’s “Task Force for Improving Education” putting forth 20 recommendations that the public knows little of in the way of details – but the “preview” is well written. Poised to repeat the mistakes of the past!

*****Double Note for the Nation*****Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Who controls “leadership” and school board “training”? It is in our soon to pass laws – better check yours.

This was originally written for and published in the Idaho Statesman January 30, 2014.

I’m sharing it here because I believe – we must share what we know to be the truth. Also consider, To Privatize or Not to Privatize

And for those brave enough to want to consider the global scale of this, check out Hidden Privatisation. Here’s a one page brief.

Thank you for caring….Now let’s stop this destruction!

The Common Core System

Connecting “Autonomy,” “Accountability,” & the Common Core National Standards

Here’s how things are going in Idaho. Quick history: In 2011, three laws similar to others in the nationbust collective bargaining, put in pay-for-performance, and roll out the lap-tops and online “learning” — were passed by lawmakers despite visible and audible protests from Idahoans. But the People in Idaho didn’t roll over. They came back to put them (the Luna Laws) on the ballot in 2012 and defeated all three proposals – SOUNDLY!!! But quietly the foxes have entered the hen house and are going in for the kill. They are doing it through a governor-selected “task force.”

Moving Beyond the Killer B’s: The Role of School Boards in School Accountability and Transformation bases its recommendations on the idea that it is important “to ensure that their [school board] policies and practices align with the pressing need to ensure that all students are provided a high-quality education, enabling them to succeed in college and post-graduation careers.” They express that “the Common Core State Standards [are] aimed at ensuring that all states strive to teach a high level curriculum and administer rigorous assessments.”(page 4) It was expressed that originally Race to the Top had included formal school board evaluations (page 5).

And so it appears that “they” thought of every aspect of The Common Core System.

 The Killer B’s document describes a scheme that in essence promotes the idea of using federal funds to accomplish a wide array of tasks including the establishment of  “technical assistance centers” called “Regional Comprehensive Centers” (RCCs) (page ii, 24).

Moving Beyond the Killer B’s (copyrighted by the Academic Development Institute (ADI)) can be found on The Center for School Turnarounds primarily sponsored by WestEd along with ADI.

WestEd (nonpartisan, nonprofit) regional centers are established in California, Mid-Atlantic, West, Southwest, Central, Northeast, South Central, Great Lakes, Midwest, Pacific, Appalachia, and Texas. And there could be more WestEd Regional Comprehensive Centers that I missed.

WestEd is the Project Management Partner for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (our Common Core Tests).

Following the lead of Idaho’s State Chief Deputy Superintendent, Rodger Quarles, who was a contributor to the Killer B’s document and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Improving Education, the Training & Development of School Boards is now on the legislative table (Effective Teachers & Leaders Recommendation #2.5, Task Force doc., Page 37).

And here is where “autonomy” comes into question: Idaho Structural Change Subcommittee’s Strategy 2: Autonomy and Accountability
“…the State should set goals for the public education system, allocate monies, and then hold local leadership accountable for progress against those goals.” (Page 19 Task Force)

When the Common Core National Standards sets the standards, aligns the tests, aligns the curriculum, and, on the advice of the Chief Council of State school Officers (CCSSO) and National Governor’s Association (NGA), aligns the training of teachers, superintendents, and principals, plus the National Parent Teachers Association did their best to train parents to accept Common Core — the only thing left is to train and align the school board members with the help of the School Board Associations and the same non-governmental, non-accountable group that will be “partnering” in the tests —WestEd. Plus, organizations like the Broad Foundation have years of experience training leaders.

With test-driven reforms (they call “outcome-based”), He who controls the tests controls what is learned — especially if all the pieces of the machine are in alignment. Is this the systemic change we want?

Is the American education system to become just one cog in the machine?

Is the American education system to become just one cog in the machine?

“Autonomy”? The Task Force defines it as “people’s need to be empowered to take ownership for results and to have the flexibility to address challenges and local dynamics they face in pursuit of results for our students.” It is not defined here as self-governing and definitely NOT the same as “local control.”

There is nothing of educational significance left to control – goals, standards, tests, training for instruction, curriculum, and governance are all decided and out of our control. All that is left is the hard work of ensuring learning, in some form, occurs – In it, we will have no voice that will be heard by the large conglomerates that will control our schools. Proof ? Do they hear us asking them right now to STOP the CORE? Put the testing on pause. They do in some states but what of the nation?

And those that attended the No Child Left Behind workshop by Gary Ratner and myself at the Save Our Schools conference in D.C. in 2012 heard me ask this question, do we want organizations like the Broad Foundation training our school leaders or do we want it done through public institutions?

The education “reform” laws that Idahoans defeated looked to me to be “models” for the nation. So what is happening now with leadership training in the rest of the nation?

Consider the Words of Reform

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In the education reform wars, words are a powerful weapon. Words often cut deep and leave lasting wounds that divide us. We hear, see, and openly acknowledge this effect by slapping a label on those we perceive as our opponents. … Continue reading