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"The Missing Half of School Reform"

Fiddytree

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I found this essay from Frederick Hess interesting. In essence, we do have a bi-partisan reform coalition, but attempts to reform the American public school system face the reality of not being able to do it well. I think he's too optimistic about the ends of reform, but I agree with the discussion on the means. Indeed, many times, reforms become bogged down by implementation, though I do not entirely agree that most of the time it is because educators and administrators are intransigent (even though there are plenty of examples where that is absolutely true). Many times, you will simply run into an issue of making it work well, not due to the actions of those implementing the policy, but by the design and philosophy of the reform itself.

Progress has been undermined, however, by the reform coalition's casual faith in the kind of social planning typically associated with the progressive left. The reformist faith in prescriptive policies was famously evident in the Bush administration's signature No Child Left Behind Act, but it has been equally evident in the Obama administration's Race to the Top program and even in efforts by state-level reformers to impose complex teacher-evaluation formulas and school-improvement strategies.

These efforts have paid short shrift to the simple and frustrating fact that, while public policy can make people do things, it cannot make people do those things well. This is especially salient in education for two reasons. First, state and federal policymakers do not run schools; they merely write laws and regulations telling school districts what principals and teachers ought to do. And second, schooling is a complex, highly personal endeavor, which means that what happens at the individual level — the level of the teacher and the student — is the most crucial factor in separating failure from success. In education, there is often a vast distance between policy and practice.

The Missing Half of School Reform > Publications > National Affairs
 
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Aunt Spiker

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You know what happened?

When they wrote NCLB - they didn't get together with teachers and educators from all over the country and take TIME to work out something that would work. They just decided some thing with a few bits of input from teacher type people and passed it.

Now, teachers are pushing against it.

The government does this a lot - regulating something to 'solve a problem' when they don't even take the time to define 'what that something is' and get input from a large variety of individuals whose 'job it is to execute that something'
 

Fisher

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Standardized everything is a mistake. There is no unringing the bell in people's ears. It is like buying a $49.95 get rich quick scheme off TV.
 

head of joaquin

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I found this essay from Frederick Hess interesting. In essence, we do have a bi-partisan reform coalition, but attempts to reform the American public school system face the reality of not being able to do it well. I think he's too optimistic about the ends of reform, but I agree with the discussion on the means. Indeed, many times, reforms become bogged down by implementation, though I do not entirely agree that most of the time it is because educators and administrators are intransigent (even though there are plenty of examples where that is absolutely true). Many times, you will simply run into an issue of making it work well, not due to the actions of those implementing the policy, but by the design and philosophy of the reform itself.



The Missing Half of School Reform > Publications > National Affairs

Jesus, this is delusional.

NCLB was totally a rightwing piece of legislation, which a few liberal politicians foolishly endorsed.

The premise of teaching to test, the basis of NCLB, was the result of consulting -- I'm not making this up -- NASA engineers. The idea was that if NASA could send a man to the moon, they could surely construct a system for teaching children.

Pure hokum unrelated to any real research on how children learn, which this OP stupidly doesn't realize is a progressive idea based on real research in heuristics.
 

Fiddytree

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Jesus, this is delusional.

NCLB was totally a rightwing piece of legislation, which a few liberal politicians foolishly endorsed.

The premise of teaching to test, the basis of NCLB, was the result of consulting -- I'm not making this up -- NASA engineers. The idea was that if NASA could send a man to the moon, they could surely construct a system for teaching children.

Pure hokum unrelated to any real research on how children learn, which this OP stupidly doesn't realize is a progressive idea based on real research in heuristics.

Are you done now?
 

Fiddytree

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You know what happened?

When they wrote NCLB - they didn't get together with teachers and educators from all over the country and take TIME to work out something that would work. They just decided some thing with a few bits of input from teacher type people and passed it.

Now, teachers are pushing against it.

The government does this a lot - regulating something to 'solve a problem' when they don't even take the time to define 'what that something is' and get input from a large variety of individuals whose 'job it is to execute that something'

That is frequently what happens, yes. Sometimes reform ideas even come from the higher education realm, where there is even more of a perception that they are unable to conceive of it being implemented in the real world (nor are they necessarily wanting to be involved). Fortunately this is what Hess is able to acknowledge. What I do have an issue with is his conviction that having the reformers more involved in the process would break any potential breakdown at the ground level, and furthermore, that it will work or even be desirable. Ironically, I think he fell victim to the naive optimism he was criticizing. Many times, we simply know less about an issue (standardized exam scores, differentiation, student to workplace outcomes, etc.) than we think we do.
 
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Fiddytree

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Standardized everything is a mistake. There is no unringing the bell in people's ears. It is like buying a $49.95 get rich quick scheme off TV.

Over the past several decades, that has been the push. It's here to stay, for now. I'm just expecting a great deal less in terms of measured results (and even less if you start to question what we measure and why). From what I looked at with some of the CC standards, they were even blander than the previous state standards here. I wouldn't expect great things from this. On the other hand, many of the proposals from the opposition become even vaguer. Of course, that's somewhat by design, due to the skepticism of being able to measure outcomes, and in part due to interests of those involved.

We will be fumbling around in education for a long time to come.
 
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