Monday, February 6, 2012

Positions on School Reform II

Note: A review of published positions on school reform: a speech from Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan; Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System; Frederick Hess’s The Same Thing Over and Over; Charles Payne’s So Much Reform, So Little Change; Anthony Byrk ad others’ Organizing School for Improvement; and Valerie Kinloch’s Harlem On Our Minds. I will review each position in several consecutive blogs. RayS.

Quote: Diane Ravitch:
“NCLB was a punitive law based on erroneous assumptions about how to improve schools. It assumed that reporting test scores to the public would be an effective lever for school reform. It assumed that changes in governance would lead to school improvement. It assumed that shaming schools that were unable to lift test scores every year—and the people who work in them—would lead to higher scores. It assumed that low scores are caused by lazy teachers and lazy principals, who need to be threatened with the loss of their jobs. Perhaps most naively, it assumed that higher test scores on standardized tests of basic skills are synonymous with good education. Its assumptions were wrong.” P. 110. From: The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

Comment: The No Child Left Behind law was designed to punish as a way of motivating teachers and principals to improve their performance and, therefore, to improve their students’ performance. As we in education learned long ago, punishment is not an effective motivator. RayS.

Title: “School Reform in the United States: Frames and Representations.” Books and Statements reviewed by Patrick Shannon. Reading Research Quarterly (January/February/ March 2012), 109-118.

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