My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


CSAP Impressions, post-script 

A couple nights ago, I analyzed the results of an "innovation" Jefferson County schools embraced two years ago. The conclusion I reached was that the new program was less than uniformly successful.

To be kind.

But I would like to take a moment to point something out. This "innovation" that I analyzed was not written by the teachers in JeffCo Schools. It was not, for that matter, very likely written by classroom teachers at all.

Nor was it purchased with the consent or consultation of the vast majority of classroom teachers, either.

This program, like most "Newest, Greatest Things", was probably written by a college professor somewhere, in consultation with a publishing company. It could not possibly have been rigorously tested in real classroom situations, because it was only completed in 1998. That means that it has only had 9 years, at most, of classroom testing. And last time I looked, public schooling lasts 12 years. It was bought by the school district and handed down to the teachers from on high, with a plan for teaching them how to teach it over the course of two years' time.

My point is this: do not hold it against the classroom teachers that they are trying to teach something that has pretty shaky data about success. They're just the part of bureaucracy that comes most in contact with your students.

But they're also the part of the bureaucracy that make the fewest decisions.

And, since the CSAP tells us that only about 30% of our students are doing the math they should be doing in 10th grade, let me suggest that maybe we'd all be a little better off if the teachers made a few more of those decisions on their own.

Could it possibly be worse than the results we're getting right now?

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