Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another Arne rant

Arne Duncan and company just gave $170 million to develop tests to make sure your child is corporate ready once she leaves high school.

This is an example of the sorts of questions Achieve has already used:

Tom Hoffman just did a quick deconstruction of the Common Core ELA standards. Go read it.

A traditional liberal arts curriculum aligned to these standards, or, for that matter, a project-based curriculum, is only held up in Common Core by a few heavily strained pegs.

A traditional liberal arts education is an anathema to a power structure dependent on, well, idiocy creating a functional but uncritical pool of labor.

Maybe I'm confused--I thought the government belonged to "we the people" and that it exists for our needs.

By design, "Achieve's board consists of six governors (three Democrats and three Republicans) and six CEOs."

I don't give a rat's ass what any governor thinks but mine--a governor's authority stops at the state line, no matter what party though 'd be hard pressed to distinguish the two mentioned. CEO's belong in boardrooms, not classrooms--they've already done enough damage.

It is to our utter shame that our government allowed our public education to be hijacked under our noses by private enterprise using our money.

Follow the money....


Anonymous said...

Although I agree with scrutinizing what sorts of tests we're making students take, the information you provided doesn't convince me that Achieve is a bad organization. That math question seems sound (and I'm in the math field), though it does use a business context. Are every one of their test questions business-focused?

Anonymous said...

I just clicked the link and skimmed the whole Alg 2 math test. Most of the questions weren't related to business, except for #21 which might be a jab at income tax policy. But other than that, the questions seem appropriate for Algebra 2, and are for sure WAY better than what we have in Texas, the TAKS test.

I like your blog! I'm just saying, I'm not convinced that this test-making company is harming kids just because it has a lot of CEOs on its board.

doyle said...

Dear Anonymous,

First, thanks for the warm words. I am glad you were not convinced; it was a sloppy post.

Achieve works fine as an organization--they have an agenda, they got powerful people working with them, they got Pearson on board as Pearson was rising meteorically in the testing business, and they are terrific at getting money.

Their agenda, however, are shaped by the board, or more true, the board was selected because of the agenda.

I agree that the Algebra II test has some good questions, and that the vast majority were not directly related to business--the particular question I poked did, however, jar me a bit, and was exposed to my kids without any say from me, my supervisor, my principal, my local board, or my state board.

The bigger issue (and one I did not make clear in this post but have harped on in the past) is requiring the passing of an Algebra II test such as this one in order to get a high school diploma.

I'd love for everyone to be able to do it--I'm a mathy person, and have trouble fathoming why math is so often detested--but a small percentage of my students will not be able to do it.

The proposed national standards will allow for 1% of students to avoid the national tests for cognitive reasons (if I interpreted Arne correctly, not always an easy task). Many of my students in the lowest 10th percentile simply cannot grasp many of the concepts.

Achieve does not harm kids because it has CEO's on board; it has CEO's on board because of its agenda (consistent with Duncan's, Broad's, and Gate's) which will hurt many kids in public schools.

Thanks for the push back, though--I may need to convert my rant into something more cogent.