Re: eliminate public education
- Subject: Re: eliminate public education
- From: Juanita Doyon <Jedoyon@AOL.COM>
- Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 03:50:39 EST
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
In a message dated 2/5/02 10:12:31 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> There is an undercurrent belief on this list that poor
> children can't learn and should not be expected to perform well on
> standardized tests.
I don't think it's an undercurrent, I think it's the meaning of the list, but
it is not the belief "that poor children can't learn and should not be
expected to perform well on standardized tests." It is the belief that poor
children should not be relegated to ONLY having the goal of performing well
on a standardized test. If the standardized test score is the only goal, the
focus on true learning, learning that offers children well-rounded maturity
and self-determination, is lost, and the goal of education for a
well-adjusted, self-sufficient citizenship is gone-- or was that ever the
goal? I'm just gullible or anti-conspiracy theory enough to think it was.
Children come to school with all kinds of needs, and if the basic needs of
care and nurturing and a variety of experiences in a clean, uncrowded
environment cannot be met, forget the test scores. On the other hand, if the
conditions in mid-upper income schools do not support good communication with
families and a challenging environment to students, forget success, no matter
what the test scores say.
The point is, the school with the lowest test scores may be serving their
community much better than the school with the highest test scores. If the
kids with the lowest test scores are being offered what they need to stay
engaged in school and grow academically, they will become productive
citizens. It is unfair to measure and compare the reading and math level of
a 7-year-old, English language learner who's parents do not grasp "the
system," with a 7-year-old from a system savvy home and US college educated
The "traditionalists" would like to close their eyes, turn around 3 times and
return to 1970, white, two-parent families and mom in the kitchen. There's
no place like home-- and maybe home wasn't that great in the first place.
How dare those "progressives" want to serve the actual, real-life needs of
kids! How dare they want to take them to the zoo or do touchy-feely finger
painting to make them "feel good." Don't they know "child centered education
is a myth?"
> As a Socialist you are trying to eliminate class differences and your
> natural opponent are the traditionalists who tend to be aligned with
> capitalism. But, which group is more inimical to your cause the
> traditionalist who believes that all students can learn at the same high
> level or the progressive educator who argues that poor children just can't
Poor children can compete very well, if given the same opportunities to learn
as rich kids. Nobody is offering that though, are they? What they're
offering is the same "fair minded" test. Oh, goodie!
> The idea that traditionalists don't really think all children can learn at
> high level and that they cynically promote this to increase failure, is, I
> think wrong.
Then why the stumbling blocks? Why negotiate failure before children have
had the opportunities? Why the sorting machines of school-to-work career
pathways, certificates of mastery, and diploma denial? Why mandated summer
school for children, rather than increased opportunities during the 6-hour
school day? Why such a lack of parent involving strategies? Why slick
pamphlets and A+ commissions instead of school site self-studies, strategic
planning, and community involvement (all of which are falling by the
> Consider the high school exit exam in California. This is a pure expression
> of traditionalism. I believe that those who pushed for it really believe
> that if everyone works hard and the right instruction is provided all
> students can pass. That is certainly a more egalitarian view than my own
> progressive suspicions that it can never happen.
Ah, but if they don't pass, it's their own fault-- or that of their parents
and teachers-- certainly not the lack of facilities, materials, and certified
staff because of poor planning on the part of the state. And if the big push
is for poor children to have better opportunities to learn, why the broad
stroked testing of all children in all schools? Why the one-size-fits-all
curriculum shifts? Why the statements that there is no success in our
schools except for little bright spots of "best practices" here and there.
An African American lady spoke with us in San Antonio-- she was from Ohio, I
believe. She said we (those of us fighting the tests) are just beginning to
feel what her people have been feeling all their lives. The complete control
by the system over our destinies. Welcome to the 21st century. It's going to
be a bumpy ride!
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