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When did education become so complicated?
Legislative hearings on education bills this year were knee deep in data and jargon, some of it borrowed from business: “value-added measures,” “human capital,” “formative observation,” “core competencies.”
Pity the parent trying to follow these discussions.
To cut to the chase, there are three overriding conflicts in the debate over education reform. Topping the list is testing. Teachers say they’re saturated with tests and object strenuously to any more because they’re not a reliable measure. The governor and her education staffers think we need more tests. Like them or not, standardized tests are costly, in money and time.
The second is a top-down push vs. bottom-up buy-in. The administration’s approach is my way or the highway; the educators’ alternative diffuses decision making through so many layers of people you wonder where the buck stops.
The third is Hanna Skandera herself. Although I’ve been saying she deserves a chance, every conversation with a teacher begins with, “She has no classroom experience.” That’s a big obstacle and one reason the Senate Rules Committee refuses to confirm her as Public Education Secretary.
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