In a memorable keynote address fifteen years ago I heard Jonathan Kozol declare, “People say that spending money on education is just throwing money at the problem. We ought to try that. It might work.”
Certainly investing in public school equity and improvement has not been the trend in recent years. About ten years ago, New York set up a new school funding formula to send more money to poorer school districts to remedy the lawsuit in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York, but when the Great Recession hit, New York’s general assembly stopped funding the plan it had created. At about the same time the legislature of Pennsylvania created a formula for the purpose of equalizing school funding, but in came Governor Tom Corbett who cut a billion dollars out of the state’s education budget, and the new formula died. Kansas has radically cut taxes and slashed…
In a recent Facebook discussion about PARCC and the Common Core State Standards, I commented that the Common Core standards are developmentally inappropriate in the younger grades. Another participant in the discussion challenged that assertion, and pointed to the CCSS kindergarten literacy standards. He asked me to identify what was inappropriate in them.
Here’s an edited and expanded version of my response:
I think pointing to the Reading:Literacy Standards (Kindergarten) for an analysis of developmental inappropriateness misses the mark. My concern with the standards for the youngest grades is not with the Reading: Literacy Standards, which are about comprehension and understanding stories, but rather with the Reading: Foundational Standards (Kindergarten), which are about phonics and decoding words. The Reading: Foundational Standards require ALL kindergartners, for instance, to be reading CVC words (i.e., 3 letter short vowel words) by the end of kindergarten, unless those words end with r…
I Love Public Education
I cried the first time my Mother left me at your door,
I would learn to love you with every morning cookie and container of milk,
I would love you more with every song we sang within your hallowed walls,
I found your love in every teacher’s smile in your halls
I loved the reverence and respect you showed our flag every morning.
When the evil darkness of assassination
took the life of President Kennedy ~ you were there,
You calmed us, and helped us understand that although things could never be the same ~ our nation would be mended,
You kept us warm during the winters from 9:00 to 3:00 ~ when there was no heat in our old cold-water flat, You were there when they murdered our heroes Martin and Bobby, to…
Congress has begun to hold hearings to consider, yet again, a reauthorization of the federal testing law No Child Left Behind (NCLB). NCLB is the most recent reauthorization of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but in 2002, when President George W. Bush signed NCLB into law, the federal government radically shifted educational philosophy. The emphasis moved away from supporting the education of under-served groups of children through compensatory funding programs like Title I and toward a new plan: holding schools accountable for continually improving test scores for all children. It hasn’t worked.
The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) released data this week to document that NCLB has not lifted school achievement. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) is conducted independently—apart from accountability-based testing of every child by states under NCLB. The NAEP is administered across the states to random samples of children across the…