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


Be Sure To Catch Two Speakouts on Education 

The Rocky Mountain News has two guest columns about educational issues this weekend: CSAP scrapping, and curriculum abandonment.

The first, by Rep. Judy Solano:

What are we getting for those extra tests? What is our bang for our CSAP buck? Here are some results: When President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law in 2001 and high-stakes testing began, Colorado’s dropout rate was 2.6 percent across all ethnic and racial groups. Today, our dropout rate has increased to more than 4.5 percent.

Umm . . . Judy? Yeah, the test isn't actually a curriculum device, it is a measure of your curriculum effectiveness. Maybe you just don't like beating a dead horse and would prefer to admit that we are NOT educating our students. But as long as former educators who become legislators are incapable of recognizing the difference between learning and testing, we really have very little chance of making progress.

The second, from Saturday, by Jane Urschel:

The Innovation Schools Act is about the belief that principals and teachers can be leaders when given the chance. To some extent, we can do that with the Charter Schools Act, but there's a difference. Charter schools are public schools, but they often operate "outside the system." SB 130 seeks to create innovation inside the system.

If the bill becomes statewide policy, districts choosing to use it would find that everyone in the system must innovate. School boards would decide which policies to waive to allow for innovation and will determine results the board must see in participating schools. School district administrators and teachers unions would revisit collective bargaining agreements and other system regulations with student achievement in mind. And, in some cases, the State Board of Education might be asked to waive certain state statutes to make districts of innovation possible.

So, because charter schools are "outside" the system, we're going to create new schools from "inside" the system that we, um, "set aside" special places in the schools to innovate and be freed from the rules?

Huh? That makes not a lot of sense.

But you have to love how Dr. Urschel invokes the name of Martin Luther King, Jr., to make the case that this is some sort of a civil rights issue.

Here's an idea: let's not just empower teachers and principals to innovate, but then let's give students and parents the freedom to move from one school to another in pursuit of whatever innovation resonates with them. And even more, let's let them take their property tax money with them to whatever school they choose, so that each school has the sort of resources it needs . . .

oh, wait. That would actually cause real and massive change, but it's the "V-word". Can't have that.

No, best that we just let those "inside" the system innovate. That way this sad, dysfunctional system can stay propped up for future generations.

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