Learning the Hard Way: The False Promises of Standardized Tests

By: Sunday April 21, 2013 4:00 pm

My daughter sees a math tutor, a bright young med school student from Pakistan. She told me last weekend my daughter still struggles, but she was shocked to hear that “every single kid” in her class has a math tutor. I was shocked to learn this too, but for another reason.

Over a decade ago, the federal government sought to “fix” low-performance in schools, but not by increasing learning, rather by increasing standardized testing and leveling threats against those whose scores don’t magically rise. In NY and NJ, newly implemented evaluations say teachers who show progress on student’s standardized test scores are more likely to retain their jobs, and in some cases might “win” cash bonuses.

 

No Child Left Behind Waivers: Can Affordable Care Act Waivers in a Romney Presidency Be Far Behind?

By: Friday July 6, 2012 12:11 pm

Many commentators on the left predict that Mitt Romney, if elected President, could not repeal the Affordable Care Act. And that’s true as far as it goes, I suppose, not all of it could get shoehorned into a reconciliation bill; and a tight-knit group of 41 Democrats in the Senate could, under current rules, block any vote under regular order. However…

Late Night FDL: Game Theory

By: Thursday March 22, 2012 8:00 pm

A chorus of unconvincing shock arose when Mitt Romney’s flack so blithely admitted that whatever bonkers positions he’s taken to appeal to the craziest of Republican primary voters could simply be shaken away like the scribbles on an Etch-A-Sketch, and general election voters would be none the wiser. Although Romney’s desperate and flailing rivals evidently cleaned out Toys-R-Us to capitalize on this supposed gaffe, in fact his statement is anything but controversial; from Karl Rove’s K Street money-laundering shops on down to the lowliest Mississippi trailer park, Republicans applaud lying, as long as it wins elections. And for them, anyway, the lying tends to pay off.

Promising one thing and delivering its diametric opposite has a long and hallowed tradition in Republican politics.

Obama Administration Releases Guidelines for No Child Left Behind Waivers

By: Friday September 23, 2011 2:20 pm

The Obama Administration released its plan for the future of No Child Left Behind. In the absence of new legislation to fix the the original bill’s demands, the Department of Education will issue waivers to public schools that meet a particular set of guidelines.

Obama Administration Announces Plan to Grant Waivers to No Child Left Behind In Exchange for “Reform”

By: Tuesday August 9, 2011 5:30 am

The Education Department plans to grant waivers for the No Child Left Behind law to states and school districts that “embrace reform.” This bypasses Congressional reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law, and allows states and districts to get out from under the onerous burdens of the law, which has a deadline for 100% proficiency in reading and math by 2013-14, and which would close down schools that did not comply.

Warning to “Pass Anything” Camp: Reforms Don’t Always Get Better Over Time

By: Tuesday December 22, 2009 7:20 am

People in the “pass any bill, regardless how bad” camp often talk about “fixing it later.” They point to previous progressive change like social security, Medicare, and the civil rights legislation as proof that progressive reforms start small but grow into something better. This mantra is repeated as an article of faith, but it is not based on a true, dispassionate examination of history. For every progressive reform that slowly grew into something better, there is a counter example of reform efforts that, due to poor design, withered or died over the years.

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