Monday, October 6, 2014

Rep. Capuano on federal education policy

Citizens for Public Schools' event tonight with Rep. Michael Capuano speaking on federal education policy
Capuano: "if you want to be an auto mechanic, you can be an auto mechanic"
"...nobody ever told me that there was such a thing as an AP test"
"I have no problem with tests...but I do have a problem with every child taking a test that will never be used in their lives"

MCAS passed "as a baseline"..."nobody should be able to graduate from high school not being able to read and write"
"we have never asked ourselves the question of what we want our children to know..."
"all the tests have become is regurgitation"
"Knowledge isn't knowing stuff; knowledge is putting stuff together"
asks who has used sine or consine, who has used square roots
"when I was in high school you had to take Latin...I use it all the time" (to laughter)
comparing us to China "is comparing apples and oranges"
tests "have turned our schools into places where people know STUFF"
"many students around the country have to be retaught" when they get to college
"what was wrong with study halls...with music...with glee club...with honest-to-God gym"
no problem with charter schools..."but tell me one program from a charter school that has been widely adopted"
children in charter schools not reflective of population: "of course they do well! If they aren't doing well, there's a problem!"
"not getting the cream!"
"almost everyone I grew up with was dealt from the bottom of the deck"
"the feelings are there, and the results are there..."
"federal education was captured by the same so-called industry that Massachusetts is"
Massachusetts does well on tests: "Oh, really?"
"what do we want for our children? For me, I want them to THINK."
no requirement that graduating seniors know anything about compound interest, yet all of them are going to get hit with credit cards
On NCLB: "maybe I have too high a standard, but I just couldn't do it, I just couldn't do it...they were very proud of their bi-partisianship, but I asked 'what have you done?'"
"Right now, we're not spending money on anything, unless we want to invade a country, and then we're spending all the money in the world"
"They don't want to do it because they don't want to pay for it"
"Will they do it without paying for? Possibly."
Has never heard anyone scream about mandates on local governments
Q: complicate our thinking on federal role? That's part of the problem, three significant levels of government
"Only consolation I can offer is we treated you just the same as we did the big banks...we messed them up, too"
Q: at the very least, NCLB forced students to disaggregate data. How do you keep that without shaming?
a lot of our kids come from different background...don't care about the school system average, care about the individual child
concerned about testing in what it's been done for, how it drives the policy
"Guess what? Have you seen any real shockers yet on the list of 'good' school systems? The 'good' systems are all white, weathy communities; the 'bad' systems are poorer and not white. Is anyone surprised by that?" yes, with decided sarcasm
Q: who else shapes policy? "Nobody wants to touch it, because it's tough."
"education's very's my kid...he can't wait five years to change the system"
"I prefer a fight, not an academic debate"
On METCO: "I would like to see us not need anymore...what does it say that we have to send kids away from their home district? That's an awful thing to's a necessary's a good program, but it's shouldn't have to exist"
Q: where should conversation happen? Local level. Not federal level. Cites need for requirement of civics
Q: where does the teacher fit in, in evaluation? "You're not"
at individual level, you get too many different levels, too many different policies. "Teachers need to be at the table..."
questioner advocates for humanity into education
"By the way, if you're teaching seventh grade, you're going straight to heaven."
Roy Belsin: "pluralistic society...mulitple ways to thrive...not the achievement gap, it's the prepartion gap"
"If you're waiting for Congress to act, you should stop...good ideas are usual from the bottom up, not the top down"
Q: damage that NCLB did..."what gets tested, gets taught" going deeper and deeper into the abyss
"we have a law that should have been renewed seven years ago and with no hope of being renewed"
"what we have right now in my estimation is a cabal of oligarchs who have enough money and enough power to get these things done" (this still the questioner)
"we now have this hodgepodge"
Capuano: "in terms of 'desperate hopelessness,' let me be clear: I am running for re-election!" Not entirely hopeless
"you've met have choices! There are good ones, there are bad ones: pick one! kinda bothers me when people say 'I didn't get what I wanted.' We don't ever get all we want."
"my personal opinion right now is NO re-authorization..and we go back to you"
"in a perfect world, we should have a good the real world, in my opinion, no reauthorization is better"
Sorry, not quoting questioners who have their information wrong
Q (well, sorta): "when we DID make a difference, is when Congress poured money into early childhood education, and MONEY into education....and it MADE A DIFFERENCE"
Capuano:for a long time, this country thought the federal government could help, yes, mostly with money. Now people are sending people to Washington who don't believe that.
"The people who voted MATTER. Elections MATTER."

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