Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Data Driven Instruction" and the Orwellian World of Education Reform

In the increasingly Orwellian world of "Education Reform" a new term has achieved a particular cachet- "Data Driven Instruction." With deadly seriousness, school chancellors and superintendents hold workshops on how to do this for their principals and teachers, offering euphemistic language for something really quite crude and brutal- TEACHING TO THE TEST! And why are they doing this? It's because the US Department of Education, through No Child Left Behind and Race To the Top, threatens to close schools, and fire teachers and principals, who do not produce the proper data! Anyone who thinks this approach is going to improve the quality of instruction, and create better relationships between teachers, students and parents, is sorely mistaken. It will increase the stress level on all concerned and squeeze out compassion, empathy and community building along with creative instruction. But the school reformers don't care. They are determined to bring a "business atmosphere" into public education, with teachers poring over test scores the way executives pore over sales data!
Initially, the response will be sullen compliance, along with more than a few departures of those who cannot accept the corruption of a profession to which they have devoted their lives, but in the long run the result will be a combination of sabotage ( forging test results) and open revolt.

And since I like to use music as a metaphor for events in "real life" I dedicate this Grateful Dead song to the architects of these awful policies, as what they have created is a truly a Ship of Fools

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