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|Posted By: Dick Schutz on February 13, 2004|
|Campbell's bottom line last sentence gets it half right:|
"Education, like other areas of American society, needs concrete solutions,"
Polling, since Reagan's advisors discovered polls as a useful tool to "give the public what they want" have shown "education" high on the public's wish list. Politicians, as researchers, serve the public interest as well as their personal interest. To arrive at concrete solutions, there is no benefit in trying to separate the two. Both Bracey's and Campbell's documents are political polemics and beg the question of concrete solutions.
President Bush's clumsily stated question, What is our children learning? is the right question both politically and technically and technically correct. But public education is as much at risk from the actions at the top of the ed chain as from the political chain.
Look, we've got Standards that reflect "content" rather than performance. We've got tests referenced in a half-assed way to the "standards," but neither the standards nor the tests are grounded on the "boots on the ground" classroom instruction. Then we have a cockamamie illogical statistical formula to identify which administrative and demographic units are failing. Does that sound like movement toward concrete solutions.
The sentence goes on to state "not further explorations of past practices." But neither the book nor the review "explored past practices" Each was too busy converting and defending to do any asking and answering. NCLB is shaping up as the biggest educational bust ever. But the politicians are not to blame. It was a failure of educational intelligence community domestically, analogous to the intelligence community.
In enacting NCLB the Administration did exactly what they were told by their bipartisan education advisors. They have not learned, "Never listen to a researcher. By definition they are always exploring the unknown. To arrive at concrete solutions, a hard look at past (as well as present practices would not be a bad thing at all.