Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whose ed policy is it, anyway?

You may have caught that President Obama was greeted with a gasp in education circles last week when he said:
that “we have piled on a lot of standardized tests” under federal education law, meaning the annual proficiency tests in reading and math given to Grades 3 through 8 as well as once in high school.
“Now, there’s nothing wrong with a standardized test being given occasionally just to give a base line of where kids are at,” he continued. “Malia and Sasha, my two daughters, they just recently took a standardized test. But it wasn’t a high-stakes test. It wasn’t a test where they had to panic.”
Mr. Obama went on to denounce how standardized tests had narrowed the curriculum and led to teaching to the test.
“Too often,” he said, “what we’ve been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools.”
Right, like in the School Transformation Grants? Or in tying teacher evaluation to student test scores, as in Race to the Top?
Oh, wait...whose education policy was that?
YOURS, Mr. President!

There's been plenty of blogosphere chatter, plus Anthony Cody has pulled together a petition asking that the education department follow what are apparently the president's positions on there's an idea.
Here's Cody today:

Last week, President Obama reminded us all why his election gave many of us so much hope. In 338 words he spoke of how he wanted his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to have their learning tested. He described a low-stakes, low pressure environment, with the results used not to punish them, their teachers or their school, but simply to find out what their strengths are, and where they might need extra support. He spoke of the need to avoid teaching to the test, and the value of engaging projects that would make students excited about learning. President Obama has made sure his daughters can learn this way. If only Department of Education policies would allow students in our public schools this same privilege!


T-Traveler said...

can you explain the "waiting list" at Voke? are there 8th graders, freshmen, sophomeres, juniors on the list? can you jump in after frshmen year? how many of the list are in parochial shool or charter school? do any go to regional voke cholls instaed? how many come from NAtivity school?

Tracy Novick said...

T, I can answer part of this, and find out the rest:
The waiting list is of kids who don't get in, so it's rising 8th graders and up. You can jump in after the first year ('though I imagine there have to be limits; that I don't know and can find out). I don't know how many are from various other schools (but can find out). Unless you're looking for a program NOT offered by Worcester Tech, there currently is no provision for going to another vocational school.
We've got a request out for a report on the waiting list (among other things), so I can put these questions in once that comes back.