Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Banality of Education

The No Child Left Behind legislation is patent nonsense. Fundamentally is an attempt at implementing a category error in judgement. The American public has allowed a rogue Republican administration to run amok with school policies, the worst of which is NCLB.

In this recent article, CNN reports on another false consequence of NCLB, that schools do not have competent teachers in place - yet another exagerrated hoax.

Education law leaves children behind
'The day of reckoning is here, and it's not going to pass'
Friday, May 12, 2006; Posted: 11:02 p.m. EDT (03:02 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Not a single state will have a highly qualified teacher in every core class this school year as promised by President Bush's education law. Nine states along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico face penalties.

This article like most discussions about education fall into the category error trap. By accepting the premises and phony metrics of NCLB, the discussion never elevates itself out of the Alice in Wonderland rhetoric that spawned the legislation.
In the hallucinogenic world of NCLB, schools and teachers are measured with tests that produce numbers that have no real value except those assigned by the Bill Bennetts of this world. Frank Rich of the NYTimes talks instructively about Bennett here as being a "bloviator in chief" to this administration. I agree.

St Joseph's College recently held a conference reported by the Courant.
It talks about Connecticut's law suit and dissent from the law. But no one talks about the yellow elephant in the room, the fact that NCLB is pure, unadulterated bullshit. It is unworthy of intelligent discussion except to gracefully eliminate it.

Most disturbing is the lack of professionalism and honesty that allowed NCLB to become law. The CNN article has this quote, "At some point there was, I suspect, a little bit of notion that 'This too shall pass,' " said Henry Johnson, the assistant secretary over elementary and secondary education. "Well, the day of reckoning is here, and it's not going to pass."

The entire educational community no longer gives a care about education at all. There is virtually no discussion anymore about improving schools with innovative curriculums or ideas - just conformity to tests and "fixing" a fraudulent program of dismantling our public schools. Teachers now cynically go along to get along and assume "this too shall pass". There is no aching appetite for innovation, quality, or change - too many bad ideas have poisoned the process.

Teachers should stop lecturing students about courage, individuality, creativity, and other subjects requiring the exercise of human dignity. That is, unless those teachers and administrators are willing to exercise those qualities themselves. The first step in rehabilitating the profession might be to take a stand.

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