More Voucher Responses
This is something I'm toying with calling the "Accountability Paradox": Conservatives who cannot mandate standards and testing fast enough for the public schools absolutely abhor the idea of applying those same standards and tests to private schools that take state money.He then quotes part of my post and responds...
My views on MPS come primarily from personal experience. I spent nine years in three different MPS schools. Two of those schools were considered to be excellent MPS schools. The workload was light, the classes were easy, and good grades came without much effort. Then I entered a private high school and everything changed. First, I had to catch up to my peers because I was way behind in areas like math and English. Second, I actually had to study and apply myself to get good grades. Every night, I spent hours studying and doing homework. I was constantly challenged (I hadn't been at any of the MPS schools). My friends who stayed in MPS were shocked at the amount of time that I spent studying. They didn't have nearly the workload that I had. While I hated my private school while I was there, I was better off in the end.A lot of this testing talk is just a means to control the private schools. Let's say that Doyle gets his way and his chosen test is used to measure the quality of the private schools. The private schools don't want to look bad based on these test results. They will abandon their chosen curriculum in order to "teach for the test" as it has been called. That kills the whole idea behind school choice: parents should chose the kind of school that they want for their kids. The private schools that once offered a diverse range of educational programs will now be forced to teach for Doyle's test or look like they are "failing". And believe me, if they look like they are "failing" based on the test, school choice opponents will be happy to claim that as proof that school choice doesn't work.This is different from the way people use the test to label public schools as "failing" . . . how? Steve himself complains that he doesn't want his "tax money being wasted in the public school system as it currently is." How does he know it's a waste? Could it perhaps be because the test data (or other data collected by MPS but not voucher schools) show that the schools are "failing"?
Then I got to college and saw even greater differences. I spent a lot of time freshman year helping classmates proofread and edit their papers for English 100. I couldn't believe what they were giving me. There were people who were high school graduates that weren't writing in complete sentences. They had no idea how to form paragraphs, let alone a coherent essay. I was shocked. In my last job, I was in charge of a lot of high school aged kids. These products of public schools couldn't do simple math in their heads. They needed a calculator to do basic addition and subtraction. One of them couldn't read a non-digital clock (No, I'm not kidding). No employer is going to want to hire someone who lacks these basic skills. I'm not claiming that every kid in public school is this bad or that every kid is below average. However, there are enough of them out there that I keep running into them. Call it anecdotal evidence if you want, but my lifetime exposure to MPS has affected my view of it.
At the very least, I hope I can expect to see Steve and Professor McAdams at the next anti-NCLB protest.As a general rule, I don't go to protests. It's just not my kind of thing. But I am no fan of NCLB or any other unfunded federal mandate. Schools should be run at the local level, and the feds should stop interfering. The Department of Education hasn't done a whole hell of a lot for the quality of education in this country. I agree with you about standardized testing across the board. I think it is a poor system of accountability. An improperly written and administered test could provide us with poor data. I don't want that. That wastes money and class time.
I'll give Bullock credit. That post is the best argument that I've heard to support the Doyle plan. His post is long but well thought out and worth your time to read.