Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Code words in education

Here is my handy dandy guide for NCLB. I'm not quite finished with it.

'education reform' = refers to anti public school measures such as high-stakes testing, privatizing education, vouchers, getting rid of unions.

'families' = conservative Christian families or values related to conservative Christian values

'flexibility' = superficially, to allow states to develop their own benchmarks for establishing AYP. In some states, it means: dumb down the standards so we can be sure to pass.

Alternatively, it also describes how the DOE responds to criticism about NCLB's problems, albeit with pitifully inadequate changes that look good in newspaper headlines.

Another example of 'flexibility' is giving schools a chance to offer single-sex education, a blatant appeal to the conservative Christian coalition people.

'accountablility' = high stakes testing, which deems schools as failures in order to instigate changes. But these changes are destructive because they suck money out of the system into expensive private tutoring programs. Guess who makes the money there?

It also describes separating out groups such as minorities, limited English speakers, and low income kids so that we can keep an eye on their 'progress'. But really, as part of high stakes testing, this means that it becomes easier for schools to fail. The way it's set up, if attendance of one group is less than 95% and DOE doesn't round up the numbers, then the entire school will fail. More groups you have, more chance the school will fail.

'choices' = vouchers or the ability to move to another school if your school fails. However, this rarely works in practice because there are no room at other schools to transfer. Can you imagine having a whole school fail and then having to place every student at another school? Doesn't work.

Vouchers is the thing that got cut out of the bill. Lots of blood was shed over this clause, and the fight for vouchers continue at the local level. See Washington DC.

Sometimes, 'choices' means the choice of offering single-sex education. Discussed above.

'fully funded'= not enough money

'well-educated public'= this is a new one. Beats me.