Same Song: Different Dance

This go-around — with test-based education and standardization of instruction — is much riskier than the last one that we call No Child Left Behind. It’s the same song with a more intense dance. Here’s what I mean…

Follow the "leader"?

Follow the “leader”?

Last night, I attended a school board meeting and I’d sum it up by saying “We are here!” We have officially created an education system that picks winners and losers based on the numbers!...1,2,3…1,2,3…bow down.

In this dance, my district is a step ahead in that we employ a person that helped develop the new “STAR” accountability mechanism that replaces the No Child Left Behind “AYP” accounting. So, we know before the dance starts what numbers are likely to come up — what has been chosen to be weighted in “value” — what the administration (& board & public) believes to be a judge of the quality of their work.

This time, unlike a decade and a half ago, the dance begins with parents and the public celebrating test scores as if that is the goal of education — oh, but it is. Everything from “accountability” to scholarships is now based on the scores. We are here! What now?

Next, we look to move forward to the next step in the dance. So with our new-found insight and “recession-forced” austerity measures, we will offer elementary age summer school only to Title I Migrant children. The other Title I children and any middle-income students that need help…sorry, you don’t get the opportunity to dance this go-around. Your number isn’t up. In the bigger picture of “accountability,” you don’t matter – statistically.

Also in the new “STAR” system, we will be counting the number of students that pass advanced placement tests. So, the school board approved money to start prepping them as sophomores — the chosen 40 that is. That should be enough to satisfy the new accountability measures.

And of course, we do have money to complete work on upgrading all our technology and getting our collected student data sent into the state collection system (see how that will “work”) because thus far they have done such a bang-up job!

Is this dance risky? Could the country be hurt, tripped up by the “accountability” dance that began so long ago?

The pied piper of test-based accountability has played a powerful tune. Boogie on America and you will soon be doing the same steps as the Chinese parents do; it’s the pressure-cooker hustle. Push those babies so they won’t be left behind. Winners?