professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Maybe career ready is not a bad thing

I have grown to despise the phrase "college and career ready" as it absolutely flies in the face of what I think the purpose of education is and should remain. It also suggests that kids who have graduated in the past were not ready for college and careers. And I am not certain that assertion is factual either. Kids who go to college and need remediation are the product of the "teach to the test" curriculum brought about by the last "reform" movement. They come to college and find out that there are not so many benchmarks, not so many practice tests. Instead, they are asked for informed opinions. Whoa!

However, I am beginning to see some wisdom when it comes to journalism. I would love to see graduates of journalism school be more career ready than the reporters I am seeing who appear simply to be tweaking press releases about CCSS and printing them as "news." Here is the latest:

The same spate of lies are being spread over and over again. Voices of teachers are largely absent. But if you really want to see master manipulation at work, take a look at the state of education report from Arne Duncan that went largely unnoticed due to a preoccupation on the government shutdown. Here is the link to the speech and Valerie Strauss' column from the Washington Post (bless her as she seems to be career ready):

Mr. Duncan claims these are reforms from those courageous enough to live outside the Beltway Bubble or armchair pundit mentality:

States have raised standards and expectations for students and are piloting new and better assessments to show what students know and can do;

Teachers are thinking deeply about their practice and their profession. They’re rewriting curricula and sharing lessons online;

Technology is driving access to knowledge, innovation, instruction, and professional development in unprecedented ways;

And many of our lowest-performing schools are implementing ambitious reforms for the first time to drive improvement and increase student success.

Boy, am I dizzy from this sort of thinking that seems to go in 2 directions at the same time, blissfully ignoring reality. New and better assessments? Where are they? Most of what I have seen from the two major makers of the new tests look surprisingly like the old tests. Multiple choice is still there. Tests are assessing topics not taught and are suing language that is sometimes arcane and difficult (and to what end?). Technology better not be driving access to information and PD but it is. And so the trouble with ACCESS remains a critical one. Low performing schools are being shuttered if Secretary Duncan's hometown is any indication.

Here is a gem that gives me pause: "These states are partnering with the federal government to break free of some of the rules that inhibit innovation and hold themselves accountable to a higher standard." What rules inhibit innovation? How is the federal government helping states break free of those rules? Are these the waivers for NCLB? Gosh, I wish Secretary Duncan would be more specific (and is that not part of these new and improved standards? specificity?).

But Duncan goes on to make these claims: parents are all in favor of closing low performing schools; they do not care about the impact of private and charter schools; teachers are embracing the new standards; teachers are leading the reform movement. He couches it all in Washington Beltway Bubble Armchair Punditry speak, of course. The same things he is critical of are the very tools he uses: tweets, glossing over the facts, sweeping aside claims that as long as poverty affects US kids ore than their counterparts in other nations, and talking about public schools while supporting vouchers, charters, massive school closures, and the like.

Duncan also refers to those who, like himself, have worked with kids in impoverished communities. And I thought he was not in the classroom. Guess I am one of those armchair pundits who missed the day he spent teaching? Or was it longer? Walk a mile in our shoes, Mr. Secretary. Walk a year, a decade, or (like me) 30 years or more. Then, come back and we can have a conversation. In the meantime, I will tweet, blog, and question veracity of claims made about CCSS, RttT, and "reform."
Tags: ccss, idiocies, morons, reform
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