New Name, Same Game

7 02 2007

. . .and if this isn’t proof that Schooling by now has muddled the ability of whole generations of supposedly educated adults to think productively about public policy, then what IS?

The FCAT will be revamped to match pending updates in the Sunshine State Standards for math and changes for reading and language arts approved last month by the State Board of Education, said Kris Ellington, the Department of Education’s student assessment program director for kindergarten through 12th grade.

At stake is whether third graders are promoted and high-schoolers graduate, whether schools are rewarded or punished and whether teachers receive merit pay.

“It’s going to be a new test,” Ellington said. “A new name may be advisable.”

The Republican-controlled Legislature, however, is unlikely to make any drastic changes in that role, given in former GOP Gov. Jeb Bush’s A-Plus accountability program.

“The world that we live in is a world of high-stakes testing,” Committee Chairwoman Anitere Flores of Miami, said in a Tuesday hearing. “The SAT exam is a high-stakes test. A job interview is a high-stakes test. Your election was a high-stakes test.”

Huh? Job interviews and elections are not standardized, not predictable, often not even explicable after the fact! — she may have been to school but she’s really not educated as an analytical policy thinker, is she?

And she CHAIRS a state legislative education committee?? Well, she may know how to jack up schools yet not know jack about education.   I had to look her up after I read this. No wonder I never heard of her, she just got here ten minutes ago.

Did she wear the same dress for her First Communion and her admission to the Florida Bar? She’s what we call a Baby Lawyer, finished law school the year terrorists tried to finish NYC, wasn’t even born yet when I finished my first degree from the same university that would eventually grant her JD, nor when I got my first real job working in Florida public education.

All of which is to snarl that she sounds just as wunderkind-idealistic and clueless about the real world of school versus education, as I was back then. She has SOOOO much to learn, but given what I see in her bio brief, she most likely won’t. She sounds like she’s been pretty thoroughly brainwashed by the learning-as-competition model; winners usually buy into it in the worst way.

Maybe getting elected IS a high-stakes test though, like school testing in purpose (win-lose competition) and effect (focus on the lowest common denominator, stalemating innovations and reform, etc.) . . . look at the minds who do get elected these days, compared to minds who don’t and most especially, compared to minds who refuse any part of taking that test in the first place.

Do we really think politicians are quantifiably better thinkers, for having gotten themselves elected?

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