Monday, February 22, 2010

Obama enlists governors to raise the education bar

Obviously she has a 'good education'
Sarkosy seems to agree

But seriously, folks.

I've seen this problem in the US as well as other countries. When 'standards' and 'measures' based on standardized tests are instituted, its impossible to prevent educators from teaching to those standards/measures. To hell with giving the best education possible to the fucking students. Just make sure they can pass the tests [ed- this is no knock on educators, merely reality/human nature/coercion/politics].

A far better measure IMHO is future success. If one high school turns out students who graduate college at a rate of 30% which formerly never exceeded 27%, they have succeeded. It matters not if they exceed the rate of another high school. They have improved. That should be the yardstick.

Accepted: This ain't gonna be easy. It requires analysis of why some didn't graduate. Family problems and such come into play. Then there are the finances. Don't forget lack of interest. But in this age of omniscient, high speed computers it should be easy to parse such data. Just turn them nerds loose on the data.

If academic success is the goal. Measure the fucking academic success down-road and not the God damn current test results.

President Barack Obama wants academic standards for America's high school students raised, and he's applauding a program from the nation's governors that works toward those goals.

In a statement issued Sunday, the White House said the initiative will develop and implement new reading and math standards that prepare high school students for college and careers. The governors will call on Obama on Monday, as they wrap up their National Governor's Association meeting, to discuss the blueprint to prepare students to stay competitive with their counterparts around the world.

"Because too many students are not learning the basic skills needed to succeed in college or work while they are in high school," the White House said in the statement, "the nation sacrifices more than $3.7 billion a year in lost productivity and remedial education costs."

The White House said the governors have been working on the president's Race to the Top program, which rewards school systems that raise standards and demonstrate that through tougher student assessments.

The obvious problem with this approach is a lack of semi-instant gratification. But sometimes patience really is a virtue. We're talking long term here anyway and not next quarter thinking. Schools should be evaluated on how well the students perform later.

Isn't that how you were evaluated after graduating? Your performance dictated your pay/promotions? I'm excluding job politics here, of course, along with your personal hygiene and any proclivity for farm animals.

Can you tell me where your doctor stood in her/his graduating class? Hell no. Is he/she a good doctor? Do you have a fucking clue how your doctor performed on 'standardized' high school tests? Hell no. Do you trust your doctor with your life and has your trust been vindicated? In other words, are you alive and relatively healthy?

Leave them kids (and teachers) alone (for now). Give them a chance to prove themselves.

Note: Headline links to source.

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