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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 08/ 9/2010

Education Reformers vs. “New Reformers”

By Valerie Strauss

My guest is John C. Fager, a school teacher in New York City. In the 1990s, he was the education columnist for the Daily News, a parent leader, and education adviser to the New York City Council president.

By John C. Fager
At the end of the last school year, the principal at the New York City high school where I teach announced the following: Because of budget cuts, three teachers would be transferred to the central office, support personnel would be laid off, summer school would be halved, fewer after-school programs would exist in the fall, and more cuts might be necessary in September.

As the new school year approaches, such trouble faces the majority of schools in most states. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 teachers could receive pink slips without federal intervention.

As a result, millions of children would be assigned to larger classes, receive less one-on-one intervention and have more time after-school with nothing to do. Many kindergartners may no longer have classes to attend and the cohesiveness of many school communities would shatter.

House Democrats, led by Chairman David Obey of the Appropriations Committee have been trying, since early June to provide $10 billion in funding to stem some of this damage. The House is reconvening this week to take up a Senate bill to provide the money, but this has been anything but easy.

First the House’s efforts were stymied by Senate Republicans--who spent eight years under president George W. Bush adding trillions to the deficit--and some conservative Democrats who objected to an increase in the deficit. Then Obey proposed an Education Jobs Fund (Edujobs) to keep 140,000 teachers in the classrooms and he included cuts of $10 billion to respond to the deficit argument.

But all hell broke loose in Washington and among the so-called "new reformers" of education because Obey had the nerve to fund $800 million of the total by temporarily trimming some of President Obama’s high priority education programs: $500 million from the $4.35 billion Race To The Top (RTT), $200 million from performance pay, and $100 million from charter school funds.

This was heresy to the new reformers, who include some elected officials, too many editorial boards, some educators, many CEO’s, billion-dollar foundations, hedge fund managers, and, sadly, President Barack Obama. He immediately threatened to veto such a measure. The rest of the group used its considerable influence to pressure senators not to go along, and 13 Democratic senators urged their fellow Democrats to vote against the measure.

But those of us who toil in the trenches find it unbelievable that temporarily trimming the funding of unproven programs that will mostly benefit fewer than half of the states would take precedence over keeping 140,000 teachers in classrooms. Only true believers, who seem to dominate the discussion about education reform, would favor such a course of action.

R. Brooks Garber, a vice president with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told Education Week that the organization opposes cutting $100 million from the fund for charter schools because 200 new charter schools wouldn’t be started and 6,000 new teachers wouldn’t be hired. Charter school advocates seem to favor hiring new charter school teachers over retaining existing public school teachers.

If charter schools were so superior to public schools you might make a principled argument that funding should be allocated to where it will be effectively used. But the largest study of charter schools, done by Stanford University, found that for most students charter schools were not an improvement over public schools.

The study found that 17 percent of the schools studied (representing more than 70 percent of the charter school students nationally), provide superior education opportunities for their students, nearly half have results no different from the local schools and 37 percent deliver learning results that are worse.

Opposing the $500 million temporary cut to the $4.35 billion RTT program was even more outrageous. This program continues and expands on the Bush administration’s heavy emphasis on high stakes--students will be failed, teachers will be fired, schools will be closed--standardized testing.

What we have learned during the last eight years is that when Washington exerts this kind of pressure, it does not produce greater student achievement. What it leads to is manipulation and fraud in the testing programs. State tests tend to show progress, sometimes dramatic, almost miraculous, progress as here in New York, while the federal National Assessment of Education Progress, the so-called nation’s report card, finds little or no progress.

The massive emphasis on standardized testing also corrupts education itself by turning the curriculum into test prep; it also has another adverse impact on many students. Last November, First Lady Michelle Obama was asked by students at a Denver high school whether it was fair that they and their school would be judged by such once-a-year tests.

She told them, “I was never a great standardized test-taker....I would always get nervous and feel a great deal of anxiety over test taking. So it was always a point of frustration for me personally....It was just some people are really good test-takers and some aren’t.” She concluded, “But don’t let these tests defeat you. Don’t let them define you.”

This debate about Edujobs and The Race To The Top is part of the initial skirmishing about the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) now called No Child Left Behind.

House education committee hearings have already raised questions about the four school turnaround policies prescribed in RTT that seem to rely heavily on closing lots of schools and firing many, many teachers and principals.

Both branches of Congress have authorized spending for RTT for another year but at lower amounts than the Obama Administration had requested. But before Congress reenacts ESEA, the education committees need to hold hearings in New York City and Chicago where many of the elements of the administration’s agenda have been in effect. Huge holes are appearing in the rosy picture of what has been accomplished in the New York City public school system during the last seven years.

I am not a defender of the current system of education; it is obsolete and we have known that as a nation since the publication in 1983 of the “Nation at Risk” report.

But we have wasted two decades trying two different reform strategies (Education Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind) while many industrialized countries have passed us and now enjoy the education advantage that we once held.

My experience with the new reforms tells me that they are harming education and setting the country back. Many educators with whom I talk or whose writings I read also believe that Race To The Top is a race to the bottom. As a nation we are running out of time and we need to effectively reinvent education now. We can’t let another decade slip by.

-0-

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By Valerie Strauss  | August 9, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  esea, obama and blueprint, obama's reform blueprint, race to the top  
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Next: Willingham: What’s missing from Common Core standards (Part 3)

Comments

"As a result, millions of children would be assigned to larger classes, receive less one-on-one intervention and have more time after-school with nothing to do."

nonsense children can be "gasp" educated by their parents, get education online, or get help from a private tutor. The thousands of teachers being laid off is just a sign that the educational industrial complex has ballooned itself to the point where it's now imploding. Our education system has been a failure ever since mandated public schooling was first put into law in Massachusetts in 1853. Look at education in other countries like Japan, Belgium, India, and S.Korea, they only have compulsory education up to junior high. That's right in Japan once a 14 year old is done with middle school, he has the freedom to go to any school he wants, take any class he wants, or not go to school at at all. We need to emulate countries like Japan, Belgium, and S.Korea we need more educational freedom and less schooling. Of course we can do the more radical thing and just abolish public schools and leave education to the private sector. We had a very high literacy rate in the 1800s before public schooling become compulsory in every state. Lets go back our roots and have a complete separation of education and state, no more government controlled education.

Posted by: lockdeltz | August 9, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

.."Many educators with whom I talk or whose writings I read also believe that Race To The Top is a race to the bottom.....

.......As a nation we are running out of time and we need to effectively reinvent education now. We can’t let another decade slip by."
___________________

This article recaps so well the serious issues that continue to show the world that the U.S. is, and has been, on the wrong track for improving educational opportunities for ALL children for many years. An additional outrage that was left out here is the enormous debts that students incur just to finish college.

The one statement I would question at the end is that of needing "to reinvent education" now. We already know many of the answers for education - the problem is that we lack the will to implement them:

- SMALLER classes, i.e. 12-14 students

- A rich, varied curriculum that
includes the liberal arts so that
students can learn about the world
around them, practice critical
thinking skills and actually enjoy
learning

- Encouraging and ALLOWING teachers to
use their creative strengths in
alternative methods - i.e.,hands-on
applications (dramatizing history for
example), team-teaching, organizing
a literary magazine, etc.

- Profound, intelligent support of
teachers, such as endowments for
continued studies, sabbaticals &
retreats.....

- Serious alternatives for deeply
troubled and/or disruptive students

Most of the things I mentioned above are
implemented by the top private schools....
Why do you think parents want to send their kids there?

hmmmm.....should I have included testing?!?

Posted by: PLMichaelsArtist-at-Large | August 9, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

She told them, “I was never a great standardized test-taker....I would always get nervous and feel a great deal of anxiety over test taking. So it was always a point of frustration for me personally....It was just some people are really good test-takers and some aren’t.” She concluded, “But don’t let these tests defeat you. Don’t let them define you.” (Michelle Obama)

Looks as if the wrong Obama was elected as POTUS.

Posted by: lacy41 | August 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Fager,

Would you say that in Washington, DC, among other locales, the anti-reformers (new or old type) are seeking to Leave No Teacher Behind?

Posted by: axolotl | August 9, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"Look at education in other countries like Japan, Belgium, India, and S.Korea..."
_______________________

It always fascinates me when people start comparing U.S. schools with those in other cultures. Many of the other countries that our education system is often compared, also have different family structures and place more value on being educated than do far too many Americans.

We started messing around with public education (delivery of instruction, curriculum, administative hierarchies, etc) in the late 60's, early 70's. I can remember, as a young teacher, the new idea was "open classrooms/schools w/o walls. Anyone, with any common sense knew that would be a disaster. Then we had creative spelling, new math, went to larger schools, now have "scripted" curriculum (snooze) and pacing. In Va, we have had high stakes testing since the mid 90's. Then, it was technology that was going to be education's God and Savior. It ain't happenin'.

Common sense has evaporated...public education and its so-called experts are hardheaded with ADHD. They can't stick with anything long enough to improve it and don't pay attention to those in the trenches if it needs changing. (And then they expect students to respect us...ha!)

There are some unique things being tried in some school divisions that need more investigation and require accountability on many levels from all the stakeholders...not just teachers giving a test.

Standardized tests are offensive and demeaning. They assume everyone is the same, thinks the same, and reacts the same. Then we wonder why they can't think and problem solve. Most of what life throws at you is not going to be solved with multiple choices where only one answer is the only right answer. (That's it...these so-called experts are treating public education as their own multiple choice test/experiment...with their answers being the only correct one...ahha.)

Sorry for this long response...but, I am close to retirement and have seen too many "reforms" come and go while the real deterrants to improving our education system are swept under the rug and the buck is passed to that caring, hardworking teacher in the classroom. Being a kid in today's society is complicated. Many of these kids come to school with more baggage than many of us will see in our lifetime. But, because we have no answers to their problems, we are, as a society taking the easy way out...it's called: Test and Blame.

Posted by: ilcn | August 9, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

lockdelts wrote: Of course we can do the more radical thing and just abolish public schools and leave education to the private sector.
_____________________
You mean like privatizing social security and leaving health care to the insurance companies? Yeah--that will fix education all right!

Posted by: musiclady | August 9, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

axolotl:
Leave No Teacher Behind

I like that phrase, axototl.
I might adapt it as a badge of honor, except it doesn't go along with my line of work.

(PS. "behind" why this fascination with people's.....)

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | August 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

icln,
You point out a very important fact that makes comparisons between countries difficult.
I wonder to what degree do any of the other countries test their underpriviledge, or if you find a "ghetto" culture in South Korea, Norway, Italy, France etc.

Something to recognise is that while all these countries have had (and may still do) discrimination based on race and class, I don't think any of them have a history where 10% of the population was enslaved for 200 years, then legally discriminated against for another 100+.

Thanks.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | August 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I am close to retirement and have seen too many "reforms" come and go while the real deterrants to improving our education system are swept under the rug and the buck is passed to that caring, hardworking teacher in the classroom. Being a kid in today's society is complicated. Many of these kids come to school with more baggage than many of us will see in our lifetime. But, because we have no answers to their problems, we are, as a society taking the easy way out...it's called: Test and Blame.

Posted by: ilcn | August 9, 2010 10:34 AM
______________________________
I'm in the same boat. The pendulum keeps swinging and some of us are finding ourselves being "trained" in "new reforms" that we were "trained" in years ago. They didn't work then. Why don't the "reformers" listen to those in the trenches who know the kids as individuals and know what they need in order to really help these kids? Most likely because effective reforms will cost more money and they don't want to hear that. The lowest performing school in my school district was turned around by extending the school day, reducing class sizes, lengthening the school year and adding after school tutoring. It was expensive to do that but the results were impressive. Why do reformers think that only charter schools can do this?

Posted by: musiclady | August 9, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Musiclady,

The only thing that worries me about extending the school day and the school year is that for those students that goof off all day or daydream, it just extends the time they get to do the same.

I am not against extending the school day or year - but what can we do about kids who don't pay attention?

Posted by: educationlover54 | August 9, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@educationlover54: I'm not necessarily advocating for extending the school day or school year per se. I'm just saying that the particular school I was referring to did that. I don't think that is the answer for all schools. This school was extremely poor, has a large percentage of non English speaking kids and was in danger of state takeover. I would rather see these measures taken within the framework of the public school system then to see such a school closed or turned over to a charter group which is what my district did. It also paid the teachers their regular per diem rate of pay for the additional work. They did not fire the staff yet they made substantial improvements. The models being advocated by the DOE for turning around public schools are just wrong.

I teach in a title I school. I could see advantages to extending the day or year if the additional time were used to provide the students with experiences that they miss out on due to their economic or family situations. My personal children were able to participate in organized sports, music lessons, scouts and a host of other things that broadened their horizons. My students don't have these opportunities. I would definitely NOT be in favor of more time in school if it meant more drill and kill test prep. I also wouldn't advocate for it if teachers were required to put in 12 hour days in the building. It would require more personnel to run the additional activities. It is getting pretty bad when we see preschool and Kindergarten classes engaged in this test prep type of learning instead of the hands on activities that allow kids to explore and make sense of their environment. This type of "learning" is not what I would personally consider to be a real education just like I don't equate test scores as a true measure of student achievement.

Posted by: musiclady | August 9, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Edited for clarity--the school being referenced was NOT managed by a charter company. All improvements were done within the traditional school system.

Posted by: musiclady | August 9, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This author brings up a very imprtat point: Why are we hell-bent on spending billions on unsubstantiated and unsettling "reforms" when we have identified for many years the obstacles to learning?

Here's a thought. Blaming educators for the failures of communities and schools is so much easier to do than funding poor schools in an equitable manner. we all know the kinds of interventions that can raise achievement and many were already stated: small classes, individualized instruction, longer school days, adding different types of personnel such as psychologists and social workers.

However, these kinds of reforms cost money and will need to be funded for many years. the RTTT bonanza of quick-fix money is nothing more than a way to sell americans on the idea that you're doing something for the children. Just like NCLB.

Posted by: Nikki1231 | August 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The costly and wild educational changes continue because the root cause of educational underachievement (in all English-speaking countries) keeps being ignored: the inconsistency of English spelling which puts learning to read and write beyond the ability of many children. See my website and blogs.
Masha Bell

Posted by: mashabell | August 9, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

However, these kinds of reforms cost money and will need to be funded for many years. the RTTT bonanza of quick-fix money is nothing more than a way to sell americans on the idea that you're doing something for the children. Just like NCLB.

Posted by: Nikki1231
.........................
Yes Race To The Top is simply the attempt of President Obama to win reelection with claims of fixing the problem as No Child Left Behind aided in the reelection of President Bush.

The politicians even pretend that there is a problem in all public schools when the problems are in the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Imagine if all this money and the money spent for public charter schools went to making the Title 1 poverty public schools safe with classrooms where teachers could teach and students could learn.

That is the first step in dealing with the problem of poverty public schools and will show a small improvement in education that is equivalent to the small improvement that is shown in public charter schools that are safe with classrooms where teachers could teach and students could learn.

The second step is a revolution in the ideas of improving education in poverty public schools.

Even the best teachers are not effective in the poverty public schools since the children have such diverse skills and capabilities. This is true also for public charter schools and accounts for the limited improvement in these schools.

Children learn on their own to speak from their sensory perceptions of their environment.

What is required for the poverty public schools is an environment of children learning on their own with the support of teachers.

Computer technology can do this early on with programs that are not drilling students but are presenting children with opportunities to use what has been already taught by teachers.

Imagine a computer program where a child moves from one children's book to another at their own pace and where the child can easily select to hear the sound of a word. The program can use verbal questions or picture tests to determine the ability of a child to move on to another book and even determine for each child which specific book to move to next.

All of this is possible today with current technology and might provide the answer for the revolution that is required in the poverty public schools.

Instead of wasting billions the Federal government should be funding research in this idea. Such a system once developed could be given freely to every school in the country.

The primary schools are where a revolution has to occur and the Federal government should be funding the research that would provide this revolution.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I am not against extending the school day or year - but what can we do about kids who don't pay attention?

Posted by: educationlover54
..............................
If the poverty public schools were safe it would make sense to extend the school day in primary schools with the purposes of allowing children to remain longer in a safe environment where they can play and be in social contact with their class mates. Formal education would not be required. Providing children books would be helpful.

A longer school day should be simply seen as an after school program. Given that the normal work day is 9-5 it also provides a place for these children until their parents arrive home.

Given that the poverty public schools are not safe extending the school days makes no sense since there is more safety to be obtained at home instead of an unsafe environment. Teachers see the disruptive and prone to violence as great problems while to children see them as threats.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"Look at education in other countries like Japan, Belgium, India, and S.Korea..."
_______________________

It always fascinates me when people start comparing U.S. schools with those in other cultures...
Posted by: ilcn
...........................
This look at other countries is pure nonsense.

The problem here is the Title 1 poverty public schools where the majority of these schools can be characterized as unsafe an with classrooms that tolerate mayhem.

The Secretary of Education speaks of class room management.

In Japan the head of a school system that allowed unsafe schools with classrooms that tolerate mayhem would resign and might even commit hari kari.

What Americans accept and tolerate other countries would consider as gross incompetence.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Linking student test scores to teacher evaluations will finally add some objectivity to the process.
Posted by: phoss1
................................
Pure nonsense. The local standardized tests of D.C. are already watered down when they are compared to the reality of the national tests for D.C.

The standardized tests will be simply further watered down to where failure is considered to be proficient.

As for your praise for national health insurance it would be nice if you knew that this will not be in effect until 2014 when President Obama will be safe if he is reelected in 2012.

No different from No Child Left Behind where President Bush would be out of office by the time of the 2016 deadline of every child being proficient.

If you care about public education you had better hope that the Democrats select a new candidate for President in 2012. That is change we can believe in.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the last post.
It was in response to phoss1 on: Why you should be skeptical about standardized test scores.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

ILCN wrote: "Standardized tests are offensive and demeaning. They assume everyone is the same, thinks the same, and reacts the same. Then we wonder why they can't think and problem solve. Most of what life throws at you is not going to be solved with multiple choices where only one answer is the only right answer. (That's it...these so-called experts are treating public education as their own multiple choice test/experiment...with their answers being the only correct one...ahha.)"

I've been trying to figure out exactly how to respond to Bsallamack in previous posts about a multiple choice test determining a child's reading ability etc. ILCN's words are exactly why a multiple choice test does not tell us much about a child's understanding of literacy.

Bsallamack,
In previous posts, we've had a conversation around this kind of test being able to determine a child's reading ability. I would argue that it could tell us a child's surface level reading ability. But we need to move beyond this kind of reading assessment as reading is much more complex than name the main character in the book.

I'm also glad this commentator mentioned Michelle Obama's words in Denver. I remember hearing her say that and was amazed that no one has used it.

Her thinking around standardized tests is why, I think, my previouly mentioned student didn't do so well on multiple choice tests. He struggled with decoding at times and wasn't always interested in naming all of the characters in the book etc., but he was more interested in the purpose of literacy, which is to tell us something about ourselves as well as the world, and to make us actively engaged in whatever text it is we are reading.

So I think I understand, bsallamack, your point in a multiple choice reading test being able to give us an idea of a person's reading "ability," but it's time we move beyond this surface level understanding of reading comprehension.

Also, my reasoning above should also tell you why a computer can never determine a child's reading level, ability, etc. We are not robots..

Posted by: tutucker | August 9, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

ILCN wrote: "Standardized tests are offensive and demeaning. They assume everyone is the same, thinks the same, and reacts the same. Then we wonder why they can't think and problem solve. Most of what life throws at you is not going
..............................
I could not find the original.

A standardized test may be the only thing that an intelligent child may be available to lift themselves up from a poverty public school.

I took a standardized test in the 6th grade and scored with a reading level of college and scored later in the SAT to allow me to get into a college when there were free colleges.

These tests made up for the poverty public schools that I attended.

The first test placed me into special progress which was not that great but better than the classes I would have attended if I had not scored highly on the test.

Instead of this nonsense of the supposedly unfairness of standardized tests Americans should be more concerned about the Title 1 poverty public schools that are unsafe and that do not provide classrooms where teachers can teach and students can learn since these schools will not remove the students that are disruptive or prone to violent.

That is the glaring problem of public education where inherently inferior poverty public schools are allowed to exist in this nation.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Bsallamack,
In previous posts, we've had a conversation around this kind of test being able to determine a child's reading ability. I would argue that it could tell us a child's surface level reading ability. But we need to move beyond this kind of reading assessment as reading is much more complex than name the main character in the book.

So I think I understand, bsallamack, your point in a multiple choice reading test being able to give us an idea of a person's reading "ability," but it's time we move beyond this surface level understanding of reading comprehension.
.......................................
I have no idea what you are referring to.

The standardized reading tests that I am familiar with did not ask the main character of a book.

They were reading comprehension tests.

The one I took in the sixth grade could evaluate the student's reading level up to the level of college.

The one my daughter took in the 4th grade evaluated reading levels up to the level of college.

Perhaps you are referring to shoddy tests.

Your statement that the tests give us an idea of the person's reading ability is meaningless since this is all that any test can do.

Your statement "it's time we move beyond this surface level understanding of reading comprehension" is also meaningless since you propose no new method of testing. You have also used the term "surface level" which is meaningless since you have not established a definition of "surface level" and/or a level above a "surface level".

The national reading tests given to 4th grade and 8th grade students clearly show the problems of the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Instead of a pretense that these tests are worthless it would be better to explore the reasons for the high rate of failures of Title 1 poverty public schools.

To my mind the obvious problems are unsafe schools with classrooms in mayhem.

In response to question about a student that supposedly incorrectly performed badly on a standardized reading tests, I wrote two comments regarding this on the column:
Accountability in DCPS: Details from teacher's IMPACT report.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Also, my reasoning above should also tell you why a computer can never determine a child's reading level, ability, etc. We are not robots..

Posted by: tutucker
...........................
By the way a computer test could probably tell reading levels better than any test on paper.

One could build in questions based upon answers. Millions of questions could be stored in the computer to verify the grading of previous answers.

In fact such a computer programs could fairly grade cases of lucky guesses.

Any language is based upon vocabulary which are symbols. Add to vocabulary, synonyms and you can have a very dynamic test that is more accurate than a paper test.

You would also not have the problem where students make an offset mistake in filling in the answer at the wrong place. Just imagine that Al Gore would have been President in 2000 if voting was done on a computer where it was clearly indicated where to mark the candidate being voted for.

And of course you miss the obvious that any written test without all of the above can be given on a computer instead of on paper. This though would handle the offset problem.

We are not robots and neither are the human beings that program computers.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 9, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack,
As always you keep me thinking. So here I am thinking out loud again in regards to reading comprehension assessment. Please look at these standards and tell me what you think.
http://www.ncte.org/standards/assessmentstandards

What is reading comprehension to you? What does reading at a college level mean? In Peter Afflerbach's "Understanding and Using Reading Assessment" he says this, "Why would we ask middle school students to develop a theory of why poverty persists in East Africa when the high - stakes test question requires choosing, from alternatives, the capital of Tanzania?
I feel multiple choice tests limit what we can learn about a person's thinking/comprehension.

Another example - I'm guessing you have read "To Kill a Mockingbird?" How would a multiple choice test be worded to see if a reader understands the relevance of the title of the book or why the author ended with Boo Radley(I think that's his name) saving Scout? How would a multiple choice test help us understand if a reader gets why this book has had such an impact that we celebrate its 50th anniversary?

I was not clear in surface level "comprehension." It seems recall fits into this and I just don't see how a multiple choice test can do anything but see if a child can recall information. Please give me examples of the test you took that determined that you or your child can read at college level? We can get into another conversation around leveling and why it, once again, simplifies literacy.

Posted by: tutucker | August 10, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Real school improvement requires a broader approach and the "new reformers" are on the right path. Here's a outline of what it should look like: http://www.boldapproach.org/

Posted by: mcstowy | August 11, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

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