|Local control of the school, like at the Jedi Academy, is how it should be..|
Dr. J. occasionally gets posts from his Metro School Board Representative, a lawyer mom who sends her kid to a mediocre elementary school we’re both zoned for because she believes in public education more than her kids, and it allows her to hold public office as apparently sending your kid to public school gives you ‘street cred’ in that arena. Dr. J. hopes she sends her kids to the local middle and high school in walking distance of J. Abbey that no one uses rather than send her kids to the tony magnet schools that you know she will happen to lottery into.
Usually she’s bitching on behalf of her MNEA constituents (she was bought lock stock and barrel by the teacher’s union and perhaps the school PTA who are the parental auxiliary of the MNEA) regarding the TCAPs, standardized testing every New Atlantian public school student takes at the end of the year to evaluate proficiency.
Folks complain that the teachers are spending the entire year preparing the kids for a test and no one learns anything meaningful.
Of course they blame President Bush for inflicting this upon their children.
All of this gnawed on Dr. J.’s soul and he couldn’t figure out why, and then it hit him.
This is a proficiency test. This is not the MCATs, this is not the LSATs, this is not the SATs. This is a test that the kids should be able to show up to essentially cold (well, perhaps with a week’s worth of reviewing how to take a standardized test) and be fine!
So, Dr. J. ran into Master Yoda at a lecture Thursday night and asked him essentially, “If the Jedi Academy kids walked into the TCAPs and took them cold, would there be a 99%+ pass rate? If so, what the hell is wrong with the public schools that they have to prep for this test for an entire year like their lives depended on it?”
Master Yoda said, “Before Bush this test was given. His fault, it is not. More measuring than proficiency this test does. Schools staying open, professional standing of teachers, raises of pay. All these are stakes for the teacher. Chasing the wrong carrot they do as perverse incentives created there have been. Control of his school the principal should have. Fate controlled by Scantron bubbles should not be. If the job’s not done well, out the teacher at the Jedi Academy is. Do that at public school, they cannot.”
In other words, this test has become the end-all-be-all of teacher evaluation. Dr. J. can not wonder if this is somehow, the composite doing of growing and creeping of a top-down-control of the schools rather than local control and also in a wierd way some element of union protectionism gone horribly wrong.
Kids studying for a test, rather than for a lifetime of continued learning is more reason our schools should have more local control and less top-down control at the federal and state levels.