Today, Scot McKnight posted a set of questions regarding educational reform from dianeravitch.net: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/11/19/educational-reform-some-caustic-questions/
The author, Robert Shepherd, confronts with apparent anger the assumptions of “the corporate reformers who think they know how to reform American education.”
I’m the academic VP at a small Christian liberal arts college, the second such post I’ve held. Altogether, I have eleven years experience in higher education. I’m NOT expert in most of the things Shepherd addresses, but his leading questions make a great deal of sense to me. And I DO know a few things.
I know that some school systems have taken the easiest path by teaching nothing but standardized test content that would affect their funding. I know this, because I saw it in the school systems my own children went through, in Kentucky and Texas.
I know that my students’ reading and writing skills dropped precipitously from 2003 to 2009 (my last year full-time in the classroom), the aftermath of No Child Left Behind. Am I committing a post hoc, ergo propter hoc error? I don’t think so. I’m persuaded that the emphasis on standardized tests and test content is at least partly to blame.
Even in 2003, I had college freshmen telling me that my class was the first time they’d ever read a book cover to cover. The difference: by 2009, they were telling me the same thing. But they were incapable of reading the book their counterparts had read in 2003.