Friday, March 1, 2013

'We test for what we desire..."

Howard Gardner
Harvard Prof. Howard Gardner makes a great point in his letter to the NYT in response to the D.O.E.'s announcement that Pearson was changing its admissions exam for the gifted and talented programs.
What we test for signals what we ultimately desire. The use of tests for which 4-year-olds can be prepped signals that we want to find those youngsters who can do well on future tests. In that way, the process works perfectly — whether in China or in New York City.
If we desired people who were likely to make creative advances, we would look for youngsters — be they 4 or 14 — who have a passionate interest that they pursue without a lot of prodding. If we desired people who would help build a more civil and more generous society, we would look for 10- or 12-year-olds who have found a need in their school or community and have taken steps to help meet that need.
In the unlikely event that these skills could be coached, at least we would end up with adults who could not simply ace the next standardized test.
Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 18, 2013
Dumping Vallas 

Growing movement to dump Vallas in Bridgeport
A mass campaign is underway in Bridgeport to dump acting Supt. Paul Vallas.  Joe Dinkin, the National Communications Director at the Working Families Party tells me that Vallas was appointed by an interim Board of Education (after the elected Board had been illegally dismantled.) The Elected Board was restored after the Supreme Court ordered it. And now Vallas' one-year contract is up for renewal. Dinkin is asking for support and coverage from the national education blogosphere. He will find some here.

Working Families has three representatives on the nine-member school board and this week the party launched an online "Fire Paul Vallas" petition. Vallas is in the process of being evaluated by the board and the matter is expected to come to a vote on March 11.

Vallas has left a trail of tears from teachers and parents in his wake as he's moved as the corporate reformers' hired gun from Chicago, to Philly, to New Orleans and Bridgeport (with stops in Haiti and Chile), privatizing school districts and busting unions.

1 comment:

  1. I guess "absolute power corrupts absolutely" is true (or else it's the money). Whatever happened to Paul? I remember him as a humble man who wanted to get Chicago kids glasses. Considering that many really good Bridgeport people don't like what he does or stands for, I hope they are able to replace him with someone like the woman just hired in San Diego.

    Is EVERYTHING in the U.S. now about power and money? What a sad state our country is in. BUT--change it WE must!


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