Woe is me, Wobegon is gone . . .

10 03 2011

In a dramatic reversal of the Lake “Woe-Begone” Effect, in which all the kids are above average, we now labor under the Lake Woe-Is-Me Effect, in which all the kids are failing . . .


Sec of Ed Arne Duncan: 82 Percent of Schools Could Be ‘Failing’ This Year

Yes, JJ knows the correct spelling and is playing with words to make a point:

[Garrison] Keillor says the town’s name comes from a fictional old Indian word meaning “the place where we waited all day in the rain [for you].” Keillor explains, “Wobegon” sounded Indian to me and Minnesota is full of Indian names. They mask the ethnic heritage of the town, which I wanted to do, since it was half Norwegian, half German.”

The English word “woebegone” is defined as “affected with woe” and can also mean “shabby, derelict or run down.”

A point that reminds her of Minnesota’s many-minnie quaint confusions again . . .

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7 responses

10 03 2011
Daryl P Cobranchi

Well, of course. NCLB was designed SPECIFICALLY to make sure that every school will eventually be labeled as “failing.” The law mandates that in 2014 every single demographic at every single school must achieve AYP. If you have one kid in the school from Togo and he struggles, the school fails. Or if your one non-English speaking recent immigrant is sick and absent on the day of the test, the school fails.

10 03 2011
JJ

Daryl’s a smart guy. He sees it, probably saw it when NCLB was first being touted as the Great Bipartisan Education Reform. I’m smart and I saw it. But here’s what I don’t get — where’s the payoff for the good guys in this scheme? Assuming there are still good guys . . .

10 03 2011
JJ

Were the good guys dumb enough to think this would be the way to get heaps more money for public education?

UPDATE: or maybe they just thought it was the best of a sorry lot? Paul Krugman today: “The president and his aides know that the G.O.P. approach to the budget is wrongheaded and destructive. But they’ve stopped making the case for an alternative approach; instead, they’ve positioned themselves as know-nothings lite, accepting the notion that spending must be slashed immediately — just not as much as Republicans want.

. . . And this dumbing down bodes ill for the nation’s future. Health care is only one of the large and difficult problems America needs to deal with, ranging from infrastructure to climate change, all of which demand that we engage in a lot of hard thinking.

Yet what we have instead is a political culture in which one side sneers at knowledge and exalts ignorance, while the other side hunkers down and pretends to halfway agree.

11 03 2011
JJ

Just reread this and thought it was worth adding here:

What’s in a name? Substitute “kid” for “tomato” and “school” for “plant” — you get the idea. Substitute individual creativity for “sugar” and “flavor” . . .given short shrift by factory farm schooling in service of corporate-backed political controls. . .

That which we still call a tomato wouldn’t smell or taste as sweet after we’ve diluted its flavors and aromas, dumbed it down and bred out all its delights. That which we still call an education suffers more yet from its name. . .

He believes we’re infantalizing and institutionalizing a few thousand years of individuality and complex nuance, apparently for the sake of control, predictability and winning contest points.

He might as well have been talking about what school has done to education.

12 03 2011
Nance Confer

And why are they hunkering down? Are the Ds so afraid of losing their precious seats? That makes them no better than the Rs.

23 03 2011
Lynn

I can’t remember where exactly we were talking about library jobs over here – and I don’t know that FavD has her degree yet (or if she even likes cheese) -but I thought I’d pass along this announcement that LibraryThing has a job opening to you anyway. Maybe it’s just an idea to file away. 🙂

23 03 2011
JJ

Thanks for thinking of her, cool!
She starts grad school in library and info science plus museum curation in the fall —

p.s. She likes cheese well enough. 😉 Oddly though (to me) she has an intense dislike of SOUP. All soup, hot or cold. What that’s about, neither of us has any idea. Hopefully it will be no handicap in the career world!

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