Tough Choices or Tough Times

Tough choices? Not for our lawmakers. They never entertained the alternative to the Tucker plan so they had no real choices to make. Tough times? Yes, especially for those of us that had kids in impoverished districts while this cow manure came down on us.

Susan Ohanian can tell you all about the High-Powered Panel that put together and endorsed the 2006 release of another creation from Marc Tucker’s think tank, National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE). This one was labeled – Tough Choices or Tough Times. Same theory, same plan, new wording.

In “Tough Choices,” a dozen or so problems were identified. Then, the Tucker gang offered 10 steps necessary to development of their system. I’ll just use the first one to demonstrate the problem I see with “the think” coming out of this tank.

Step 1: Assume that we will do the job right the first time.

That is a great statement. Totally agree. Details?

The Tucker Plan: Create a set of Board Examinations based on a set of standards set at the “expectations” that are “no lower than the standards for entering community colleges in the state without remediation.”tough-times-ahead

Common Core Controversy followers; does that sound familiar?

Just a Parent’s Plan (mine): Let’s assume “we must do things right the first time; let’s call it the ‘R rule.’

We must be wiser in choosing how we educate. We are obliged to consider the potential effect our decisions have on children before we put them into action in the classroom. And we have got to receive feedback and take it seriously. It’s time to acknowledge that what we do in first grade sets the stage for the reading, writing, and math skills children need for the rest of their lives. Our actions need to speak to that fact. Mistakes can be devastating” (The Crucial Voice, page 12).

“First grade must be a successful experience for all children. The only way to ensure success ‘happens’ for all is with proper guidance and personalized attention to the learning and developmental needs of the child. That will only be accomplished through exceptional, specially trained teachers in small classes” (page 90).

Tough Choice? For parents, I don’t think so.

What I hope is that our toughest times in education reform are now behind us.

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6 thoughts on “Tough Choices or Tough Times

  1. Your entry calls to mind an observation I made during my long career in elementary education. Effective teachers are not valued in under-performing schools. A teacher whose students score notably higher than students of other teachers on standardized tests is distrusted, suspected, and demeaned by fellow teachers and by administrators. Generally parents of students in such classes are grateful and appreciative of the efforts of the effective teacher.

    The effective teacher is neither admired for for his efforts nor rewarded for his rigor. His excellence is more likely to be viewed as an indictment of others’ mediocrity than as an example for emulation. He will be suspected of giving improper assistance on tests and may even be accused of so doing.

    My students consistently scored MUCH higher on the standardized tests than did those of my colleagues. The scored much higher in my classroom than they themselves had scored in previous grades. Three different years selected students were retested by someone other than me in an effort to demonstrate that my scores were not legitimate. They always scored as high or higher on the retest than they had on the original.

    Eventually, I was compelled to teach using methods I could not endorse. I was given what amounted to a script and limited in the individual attention and recognition I could provide. By the time I retired my students were scoring only slightly higher than everyone else.

    Assuming we will do it right the first time is fine but insisting we did it right the first time in the face of clear evidence that our efforts are not the most effective available is criminal.

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  4. The comments make it clear that all on this thread are versed in education, policy, and politics. That being said. One cannot hold Marc Tucker responsible for the conception of outcome based education. William Jefferson Clinton as head of The Governors Committee gets that privilege.

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