"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Here's an idea...Make a Teacher US Secretary of Education!

Kids are tested to death...and we teachers know it. The only ones who don't seem to know this are the ones who mandate the testing.

It comes from the state houses and from the Governors' offices, from the US Congress and from the Oval Office. Why on Earth we allow someone without any training in Education, without experience in teaching - in essence, without any education credentials - to be the US Secretary of Education is beyond me. But we've done it twice in the last 5 years Margaret Spellings (B.A. Political Science) claimed that she was qualified because she was a mom and Duncan (B.S. Sociology) never even attended a public school...

The politicians and business folks (Bill Gates, Harvard drop-out, for example) who claim to know so much about education simply because they went to school, are very hot on Scientifically-Based or Research-Based education. None of them, however, can tell you the scientific basis, or the research basis for using standardized tests to decide whether students should graduate from high school...or should be promoted to the next grade or be retained in their current grade. You know why? Because there is none.

The glut of standardized testing in the US has not improved learning one drop. It has, on the other hand, frustrated teachers, increased student drop out rates, and lessened the time we can teach.

I'd love to change places with Arne Duncan for just one week...let him work with the students I work with...help them in their struggles (without the benefit of my 30+ years of experiences and training) and see how much standardized tests help him. I, on the other hand, would spend the entire week gutting No Child Left Behind (aka No Child Left Undamaged), Race to the Top (aka Race to the Edge), and doing everything I could to return a little sanity to public education in the US.

"Not everything that counts can be measured. Not everything that can be measured counts." -- Albert Einstein

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