Thursday, April 19, 2007

NCLB Metrics Conform to the Laws of Quantum Physics

For all of the emphasis educational leaders and the business community put on math, science, and accountability there is no discernible link between the rhetoric and reality.

For example, if one compares the progress of an individual student with that same student's progress a few years later, one is measuring individual progress. But what educators do is measure random groups of students at a single grade level, ignoring the disparate individualities and carefully compare the two results declaring that a school has passed or failed.

Of course the absurdity of the metric must not confuse you. Scientists studying quantum physics are closing in on this missing piece of anti-logic matter used by educators to make political profit of these numbers. After all, schools are all about data driven testing and as you know data can and does come from just about anywhere so why be wasteful when the whole point is school accountability and plausible deniability for throwing greater sums of money at schools.

This article at nature.com assures us that the anti-logic matter used in NCLB calculations, in fact, have a credible scientific basis.
There's only one way to describe the experiment performed by physicist Anton Zeilinger and his colleagues: it's unreal, dude.

Measuring the quantum properties of pairs of light particles (photons) pumped out by a laser has convinced Zeilinger that "we have to give up the idea of realism to a far greater extent than most physicists believe today."

By realism, he means the idea that objects have specific features and properties —that a ball is red, that a book contains the works of Shakespeare, or that an electron has a particular spin.

For everyday objects, such realism isn't a problem. But for objects governed by the laws of quantum mechanics, like photons and electrons, it may make no sense to think of them as having well defined characteristics. Instead, what we see may depend on how we look.
Get the idea? Substitute the phrase "laws of NCLB metrics" for the "laws of quantum mechanics" and you begin to understand why politicians are so in love with the idea - reality is of no consequence whether you're of sound mind or not. Furthermore, the article goes on to say;
Truly weird

If the quantum world is not realistic in this sense, then how does it behave? Zeilinger says that some of the alternative non-realist possibilities are truly weird. For example, it may make no sense to imagine what would happen if we had made a different measurement from the one we chose to make. "We do this all the time in daily life," says Zeilinger — for example, imagining what would have happened if you had tried to cross the road when a truck was coming. If the world around us behaved in the same way as a quantum system, then it would be meaningless even to imagine that alternative situation, because there would be no way of defining what you mean by the road, the truck, or even you.

Another possibility is that in a non-realistic quantum world present actions can affect the past, as though choosing to read a letter or not could determine what it says.

Zeilinger hopes that his work will stimulate others to test such possibilities. "Our paper is not the end of the road," he says. "But we have a little more evidence that the world is really strange."

Those of us who serve on school boards understand. I don't need any stinking scientific proof to believe that reality, especially in reference to schools and accountability, has no basis in reality. From now on when I don't understand the logic of NCLB, I'll just pretend it's quantum physics.

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