"Political progressives are in short supply on the president-elect’s list of cabinet nominees. When he turns his attention to the Department of Education, what are the chances he will choose someone who is educationally progressive?
Both Duncan and Klein pride themselves on new programs that pay students for higher grades or scores. Both champion the practice of forcing low-scoring students to repeat a grade —a strategy that research overwhelmingly finds counterproductive. Coincidentally, Darling-Hammond wrote about just such campaigns against “social promotion” in New York and Chicago, pointing out that politicians keep trotting out the same failed get-tough strategies “with no sense of irony or institutional memory.” In that same 2001 essay, she also showed how earlier experiments with high-stakes testing have mostly served to increase the dropout rate.
Notice that these features are already pervasive, which means “reform” actually signals more of the same—or, perhaps, intensification of the status quo with variations like one-size-fits-all national curriculum standards or longer school days (or years). Almost never questioned, meanwhile, are the core elements of traditional schooling, such as lectures, worksheets, quizzes, grades, homework, punitive discipline, and competition. That would require real reform, which of course is off the table.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.