Saturday, November 12, 2011

FAIL: CT Superintendents Play Intellectual Hookey

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) recently issued a comprehensive set of recommendations in a document called NextED - Transforming Connecticut's Education System.

In examining the documentation, the Superintendent's get the right answer but cheat when it comes to the details.  They haven't done their homework.

What they get right is that children need to learn at their own pace based on their personal intellectual, physical, psychological, and other maturities.  After forty years of empirical educational evidence that this makes perfect sense, the superintendents agree.  Rather than call them "slow" we'll defer to calling it "bureaucratic impairment syndrome". But identifying this self-inflicted, brain-deadening malady cannot excuse the poor scholarship.

You see, these folks are not really advocating anything along the lines of true personal learning, they are sugar-coating the toxic No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTT) anti-child pograms of the Bush/Obama administration.

In computer programming, we talk about code smell.  That is that the syntax and logic of a computer program is obviously lacking veracity just based on a superficial reading of the code.  NextEd suffers from this precise problem.  You can't get to a better education system based on their assumptions and recommendations.  Their recommendations are an expensive and poorly thought-out prescription for guaranteed continued public education dysfunction.

Where do they  go wrong?

First, they pander to the idea that CT public education "has been successful at providing access to a quality education for 150 years".  If that were true there would be no "education gap" between suburbs and cities and this set of recommendations would not be necessary. 

Second, their agenda reads like NCLB and RTTT, two disgraced, failing, and criminal programs that have been ram-rodded down the throats of State legislatures to marginalize local control of school districts.

The ideas are as stale as the vernacular.  The superintendents want to "raise the bar", "educate all students with high standards", "using direct measures", "strengthen the State Dept of Education", and so on.  This Orwellian slight of tongue is anathema to improving public education.

To get serious about educational reform this country needs to eliminate both the Federal and State Departments of Education.  Preferably they should be tried for child abuse first and embezzlement of taxpayer funds for disingenuous appropriation of said funds.

Secondly, all of the recently passed education legislation that was passed based on NCLB and RTTT need to be repealed entirely.  These laws prevent public schools from performing any kind of useful educational improvement.   As long as education is based on high stress, high stakes testing regiments - nothing of their recommendations, good or bad, is likely to have the desired effect.

And maybe this is the point of such studies - exhaust the funds, write some flowery platitudes, and wait for the predictable fail.

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