professornana (professornana) wrote,

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The cost of doing business

A Twitter discussion this past week about book club flyers including lexiles and levels sparked a bit of attention by one of the companies involved. Posts to FaceBook about the monies being raked in by companies creating tests aligned to CCSS and the costs associated with creating and administering and scoring the tests have also proven to be hot topics. It seems as though some companies are a bit touchy when someone questions their actions. I suggest they develop a thicker skin. Heaven knows I have had to grow one tough hide to withstand the criticisms of the reformers who are attempting to dismantle education. They do this by attacking teachers, saying we are incompetent or lazy or just plain ignorant in some cases. They are attacking and even busting unions (and Texas does not even have to do this because educators are prohibited from unionizing here). Groups are critical of teacher preparation programs, opting for alternative certification routes that place underprepared folks in classrooms even while giving pink slips to degreed and certified teachers. Schools are closing as more and more charters are approved.

Now I have heard a great deal about the cost of doing business. But educating our kids is not a business nor should it be run as if it were.

When publishers and companies that do business with schools or offer PD for teachers drink the Kool-Aid, they are taking even more autonomy from teachers. They are making it even more difficult for teachers to teach using best practices rather than scripted curricula. They are kowtowing to those outside of classrooms who seem to believe they know better despite their distance from the classroom.

I wish I could channel Jonathan Swift and offer "A Modest Proposal," but I am no Swift. If I were, I would suggest:

1. Publishers of trade books print books on laminated pages with a maximum of perhaps 3 paragraphs per page with plenty of white space so as to facilitate even more repeated close readings and annotations (and textbook publishers might already be doing this for all I know).

2. All books published have lexiles and reading levels emblazoned on the covers of the books. Unless you are a slacker, you should not mind having others see your level/lexile.

3. Bookstores arrange books by lexiles and levels and strictly enforce entrance and egress from these sections.

4. Ditto libraries. Let's keep kids within their "bands."

5. School board members must wear badges with the scores of their own kids (unless, of course, their kids are in private schools like so many of our education leaders' kids are). Parents, too. If teachers are going to be evaluated by test score, then so should the other stakeholders.

Better yet, though, how about this: for every dollar Pearson and other companies make through the CCSS alignment, testing, PD, etc. 50 cents must be donated to public schools. Because, even though education is not a business, it could certainly use a cash infusion.

The cost of doing business right now is more than dollars and cents: the real cost rests in the effect all this has on the kids. How will they feel when their book club flyer differs from that of their classmates? How will they respond when their scores plummet (as everyone has predicted, and has already happened in NY)? How many more will opt out, drop out, tune out? And how many must we lose before the business folks note it on their charts and graphs?
Tags: ccss, money, numbers, profits, siness
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