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Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:22 PM

Submissiveness required by zero tolerance, no excuses. Loss of individuality by high stakes testing

I crossposted this in General Discussion with the full knowledge it will drop quickly. A bid for attention to the topic so to speak

These seem to me to be consequences of the unchecked race to reform education. These are the opposite goals to what I remember from my years of teaching.

We were expected to respect the individual personalities and learning styles of our students. Now the one-size-fits-all tests do not allow for that.

Individuality disappearing from classrooms, NY teacher argues

In an environment where quality of education is based heavily on standardized test scores and continual assessments, individuality has gone missing from our classrooms, New York City educator Diana Senechal argues.

We cannot accomplish anything of beauty unless we are willing to spend countless hours on it alone, she told an audience of about 60 people on Wednesday at the Hippodrome State Theatre.

She explained her thinking: Education has gone to a place where reform has superseded, rather than encouraged, individual judgment. Such an emphasis is placed on the formulas used to evaluate teachers and students that higher standards have begun to quash independent thought.


She makes an important statement about the way every bit of learning must be judged. She says now "there's a fear that allowing students to soak in information without having anything concrete to show for it at the end of a lesson will result in no learning at all."

That's a real danger, she said, ďBut to demand concrete outcomes from every lesson is to shortchange the literature.Ē Senechal said that's what she means by solitude in education.


One thing that is not often mentioned is the way some charter schools with mostly minority students use rigid zero tolerance, no excuses discipline.

Edushyster recently posted an interview with Joan Goodman.

Professor Joan Goodman, the director of the Teach for America program at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about the philosophy behind *no excuses* charter schools, and the price paid by students who attend them.


Article is very long, but a couple of quotes stand out.

ES: Minority children in urban areas are increasingly being educated at schools run by the types of charter management organizations you study, yet I find that people know little if anything about the way these schools view the world.

Goodman: These schools start with the belief that thereís no reason for the large academic gaps that exist between poor minority students and more privileged children. They argue that if we just used better methods, demanded more, had higher expectations, enforced these higher expectations through very rigorous and uniform teaching methods and a very uniform and scripted curriculum geared to being successful on high-stakes tests, we can minimize or even eradicate these large gaps, high rates of drop outs and the academic failures of these children. To reach these objectives, these schools have developed very elaborate behavioral regimes that they insist all children follow, starting in kindergarten. Submission, obedience, and self-control are very large values. They want kids to submit. You canít really do this kind of instruction if you donít have very submissive children who are capable of high levels of inhibition and do whatever theyíre told.


And one more:

ES: One of the questions you ask is whether there are legitimate limits to the power exercised by schools over children.

Goodman: Thatís a big question. What rights do children have that are similar to the rights of adults? Can you search them? Can you control what they say and donít say at all times? Do they have any freedom of speech rights? Do they have any freedom to bring something to school if they want to? More than that, do they have any rights at all against oppressive punishment?


There appear to already be levels or tiers of education and policy.

Obama 2011 "One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test."

If George Orwell were still alive, what would he make of the following quote from President Obama? (Thanks to Valerie Strauss for pointing to a piece written by Anthony Cody for his Education Week Teacher blog, Living in Dialogue.)

"Malia and Sasha, my two daughters, they just recently took a standardized test . But it wasn't a high-stakes test. It wasn't a test where they had to panic. I mean, they didn't even really know that they were going to take it ahead of time. They didn't study for it, they just went ahead and took it. ... It was a tool. ... Too often, what we've been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools. And so what we've said is, let's find a test that everybody agrees makes sense; let's apply it in a less pressure-packed atmosphere; let's figure out whether we have to do it every year, or whether we can do it maybe every several years; and let's make sure that that's not the only way we're judging whether a school is doing well. Because there are other criteria: What's the attendance rate? How are young people performing in terms of basic competency on projects? There are other ways of us measuring whether students are doing well or not."

And, as Cody writes, "Then he said something really radical."

"So...one thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test. Because then you're not learning about the world; you're not learning about different cultures, you're not learning about science. ... All you're learning about is ... the little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test."


I agree 100& with everything the president said.

But I worry that his goals spoken above are not being carried out in our nation's public schools right now, and that taxpayer money is going to charter schools with such rigid discipline policies.

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Reply Submissiveness required by zero tolerance, no excuses. Loss of individuality by high stakes testing (Original post)
madfloridian Oct 2014 OP
zazen Oct 2014 #1
mopinko Oct 2014 #2
madfloridian Oct 2014 #3
CrispyQ Oct 2014 #4
LWolf Nov 2014 #5

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 05:33 PM

1. and "reform" proponents have the gall to claim they teach "critical thinking"

That's one of the most enraging pieces of crap in the whole "21st century learning skills" BS that began in the early 90s.

I've sat in meetings for 15 years (I quit that world in disgust 5 years ago) where people who should know better and people who were too dumb to know better parroted this technofuturist, neoliberal hype that what would become Common Core and high stakes testing somehow was "preparing our children to think critically in the 21st century." And God forbid if you engaged in critical inquiry about their idea of critical inquiry and actually confronted an administrator in one of these lovefests. It was the most maddening groupthink.

Faculty can best (and sometimes only) get resources by getting behind the non-profits and agencies that promote this crap. You'll get no grants and will have to fight like hell in RPT if you question it.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 07:21 PM

2. on this i think we agree.

high stakes testing should be taken w a grain of salt.
focusing on the ability to regurgitate factoids is a pox.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 10:10 PM

3. Thanks

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 03:56 PM

4. They don't want critical thinkers with individuality.

They want programmable units that they can control from cradle to grave.

I was stunned to recently discover that recess has been drastically cut back. Recess! How do you teach kids who have not been allowed to work off kid energy? We had three recesses when I was a kid.

We no longer let our kids be kids. We fill their time with extra curricular activities & think in terms of future resumes. I watch friends shuttle their kids from one event to another & the parents split up on weekends to cover it all. There is always relief when one kid turns 16 & can drive themselves & help with the shuttling.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Nov 2, 2014, 07:20 PM

5. That quote is the epitome of hypocrisy,

when you align it side by side with RTTT.

Someone who didn't want teaching to the test wouldn't promote high-stakes testing.

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