Saturday, November 14, 2015

Graduating Early “A Stupid Idea”? | deutsch29

Graduating Early “A Stupid Idea”? | deutsch29:

Graduating Early “A Stupid Idea”?

linchpin 2
A Lynchpin

In December 2010, at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in Washington, DC, former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s test-centric education reforms were featured in the form of ALEC model legislation called the “A-plus Literacy Act,” an omnibus document that includes school and district letter grades, publicly-funded vouchers for private school attendance, corporate tax credits for donating money to voucher programs, alternative teacher certification, social promotion ban, and merit pay for teachers of Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
A corporate reform smorgasbord.
In the background and drafting notes for this piece of ALEC model legislation, the first point discussed involves “school and district report cards and grades” (see page 46 of the previous link).
The drafting notes include an important acknowledgement: Applying A-B-C-D-F letter grades to schools and districts is the “lynchpin for the reforms.”
A lynchpin is something vital to an enterprise. In this case, the enterprise is the reduction of the value of education to test scores and the resulting privatization of public education when those easily-manipulated, high-stakes test score outcomes indicate failure. The use of letter grades (as opposed to numbers or some other rating system, like a star rating system) to foster the effects of such test-centrism is that letter grades draw greater public and media attention.
Indeed they do.
Behind the letter grades are the test-score-dependent formulas used to arrive at those letter grades. So, high test scores become important for both public school and district survival, including school and district funding.
In the end, students and parents become pawns as schools vie for higher letter grades and increased funding associated with securing and retaining students who produce high test scores.
The above leads me to a discussion I had this weekend with one of my nephews. He Graduating Early “A Stupid Idea”? | deutsch29: