Friday, July 13, 2012

A Useful Metaphor For Educational Reform Efforts

From this National Geographic article:
In a "eureka" moment worthy of Dr. Frankenstein, scientists have discovered that two 3,000-year-old Scottish "bog bodies" are actually made from the remains of six people.
According to new isotopic dating and DNA experiments, the mummies—a male and a female—were assembled from various body parts, although the purpose of the gruesome composites is likely lost to history. [ Emphasis in original]
The most recent efforts began with NCLB which was based on a Texas Miracle that never happened. Reformers then urged everyone to emulate Michelle Rhee whose alleged results did not stand up to scrutiny. Every state created new "tough" standards and schools started testing just to test.  Meanwhile, teachers began creating curriculum maps to perfectly demonstrate that each lesson met some standard.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attempted to institute Race to the Top which is billed as being both the same as but also different from NCLB.  Meanwhile, one can now get NCLB with waivers.  New Common Core standards arrived, so no one uses the old maps but the curriculum remains the same.

NCLB, Rhee, RTTT, waivers, and Common Core have created "a gruesome composite" "assembled from various body parts" with a purpose that has been "lost."

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