More to education than data
Here’s Diane Ravitch’s response to a post I wrote last week about Teach for America. In that post, I had noted that “Teach For America” founder Wendy Kopp went to Capitol Hill to talk about new research on effective teachers.
Using test score data, the nonprofit organization--which recruits college graduates to teach in low-income schools for two years--has determined that effective teachers are those who employ the same strategies as successful leaders in any field.
Senechal writes: “If the goal is to drive up scores, then the people best suited to do it are those who can drive up numbers of various kinds—be it the membership of a club or their own GPA. But are they prepared to teach Victorian poetry, medieval history, or trigonometry? Have we even thought about what they will be teaching? Do we have a conception of education beyond the raising of scores?
Here’s Diane Ravitch’s take on the issue. (Ravitch is a former education official in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, a research professor at New York University and an author of best-selling books on education. Once a supporter of “No Child Left Behind,” she has come to think it was a failure and that its emphasis on standardized test scores has been detrimental to education.)
“Diana Senechal is absolutely right. The economists, statisticans, and number-crunchers with MBA degrees are trying to turn education into a data-driven activity, where we can keep score and find out who "won." But that’s not education! As Senechal points out, good teachers have mastery and love of whatever they teach, and the data will not reflect that. In fact, the data will capture only the narrowest aspects of schooling (not education), which is whether students get higher scores on standardized tests of basic skills. Children can be trained to get the right answer, like parrots or seals, but the higher scores are not a measure of a good education or a good teacher.”
Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/
Follow all the Post’s Education news & blogs on our Facebook fan page, the "PostSchools" feed on Twitter or our Education home page at http://washingtonpost.com/education.
| January 18, 2010; 4:22 PM ET
Categories: No Child Left Behind, Standardized Tests | Tags: Diane Ravitch, NCLB, Teach For America
Save & Share: Previous: 2010 Newbery winner named
Next: New study on dyslexia and IQ
Posted by: richenos | January 18, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ericpollock | January 19, 2010 5:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: SeanSladeASCD | January 19, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: johnt4853 | January 19, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: john_falck | January 19, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: DC_Gifted_Education_Examiner | January 19, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bsallamack | January 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tazmodious | January 19, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: motherseton | January 20, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: holzhaacker | January 20, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.