“Who you calling a scarecrow, dude?”
“You’d rather I called you a stuffed shirt?”
“Sure, dude. That way, when I’m feeling insufficiently padded, I can fix it by knocking the stuffing out of you.”
“No, dude, that belly’s foam padding. Lot better than hay. Doesn’t itch so much.”
“Sheesh, dude. You remind me of my gym teacher.”
“But, dude, I thought you liked your gym teacher. Even if he did call you Junket. He didn’t make you take any tests.”
“Not on paper, anyway – but he was one mean dude with a stopwatch. Remember how we used to pass tests by complaining that they were unfair? Like, when they asked questions that weren’t in the book?”
“Too hard, you mean, dude. Especially for those who didn’t read the book.”
“Same as you, dude. You got as many do-over tests as I did, and we passed ’em ’cause they were easier.”
“Simple economics, dude. Why work when you don’t have to?”
“Well, dude, we really must have been on to something. Says here that now whole states are doing it.”
“So I see, dude. Uncle Sam says to your State, ‘you don’t get any of my money unless Junior can read’. So the State makes the test so easy that a monkey’s nephew could pass it. He does, of course. That way, the State gets Uncle Sam’s money and gets to furlough teachers all at the same time. It’s brilliant!”
“And because it was my idea, that means I’m brilliant!”
“No, dude, it means you’re a scarecrow.”
“I don’t really care what you’re stuffed with. You can join all the other scarecrows who can’t read their high school diplomas, flopping down the yellow brick road and singing their theme song.”
“If I only had a brain, dude. What else?
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright Â© 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.
I don’t know who Anderson Cooper is, but he missed two really important facts, the state tests also have to meet NCLB guidelines, AND the kids have to pass the national standardized tests which are scored equally across the board for every kid in the nation.
You know I am not a Bush fan, but NCLB was a response to the lowering in educational standards, not the cause of them. The whole point in NCLB was to force states to bring their standards back up. Now, whether it worked or not is a different argument. (Obviously the educational system missed teaching Anderson Cooper how to check his facts.)
Anderson Cooper is a hot property on CNN and a leader in something called
yellow-emo-journalism. Which fits CNN’s entire “reporting” style pretty exactly. He is also a child of privilege – a Vanderbilt, no less! However, the writer of this article (not Cooper) did report his primary source, a Federal report on guideline-setting in the nation’s schools, and that report does document the lowering of some state standards (as well as the raising of others). I can only surmise that the “lowering” states had guidelines that exceeded NCLB, and lowered them to NCLB stipulations in order not to risk losing Federal funds in the name of actually educating children. The principle of “teaching to the test” extended to the highest levels of administration.
Flipping burgers and complaining about immigration and outsourcing. That seems to be in the book everyone reads.
No, Doug, it’s in the book everyone parrots. If they’re flipping burgers, it’s chancy that they can actually read it. But one of the problems of basing your entire economic model on competition is that increasing numbers of people opt out – especially in a nation that has, or thinks it has, the resources, and the votes, to coddle the opt-outs along. See Rome.
And the reason they can get away with this is . . . Colleges that throw up their hands and lower their standards to keep up with demand for colleges with lower standards.
Oh, and they hire experts on the new problems they’re exacerbating.
No, Wiersdo, the colleges haven’t thrown up their hands and surrendered to this issue. They’ve run to it and embraced it with a bear hug. Those executive perks for the presidents, chancellors, and grand viziers cost money!
And that’s because we believe that EVERY child should go to college because we buy into success being measured by the earning potential for your life, not whether you’re happy doing it.
The Germans and Austrians have a system where kids elect (based on test scores) to go into trades/white collar jobs OR to university. And there’s no SHAME in going into trades/white collar because they realize those jobs are valuable parts of the economy too!
Sure beats our lesser privileged kids going to prison instead . . .
Mom, all the marketers for college education point out the earnings differential between the average (NB) college grad and the average non-college grad.
None of them point out the erosion in this differential due to the lessening value of the degree, thanks to the declining capabilities of those being force-fed into degree programs.
None of them point out that an opportunity cost of gaining that differential even exists, never mind discussing whether that opportunity cost wipes out the differential.
And a colleague just pointed out to me that his university has closed (shut down!) their Department of Economics.
The two most important topics that we should be teaching our young people – Sex and Money – are the two that We the People refuse to teach. For which the oligarchy that makes gazillions off of that ignorance are most thankful.
As for the Germans and Austrians, the British used to have a similar system, and the American system, in the days of “streaming” (when students were put into groups based on IQ or other attempts to assess “intelligence”), used to be a lot closer. The Germans, Austrians, and British have an aristocracy, and are used to the idea that their education systems stack the deck in its favor. As study after study has shown that such systems entrench gender and class inequities (in other words, they’re sexist, racist, and elitist). To counter these effects, we now have a system that entrenches stupidity.
I suppose some colleges might make it easy to get into, but here in Virginia, if you apply to one of the big-name schools (UVA or Virginia Tech, for example) with strong hopes of actually being accepted, you had better have high scores on your SAT *and* a 4.0 GPA. The competition is fierce and the high school students feel the pressure.
Standardized testing, however, is quite laughable. My kids consider SOL weeks to almost be vacation: no homework and easy tests!
Yes, in Virginia the exam is called SOL… go ahead and laugh, we all do… but it stands for “Standards of Learning.” Clearly those are not the same standards that get you into college.
Karen, it wasn’t really all that long ago in the Untied States that such colleges were “the only game in town”, and it was expected that only the top 10% or so of high school students would get to go. For these students (most of them male children of means and European descent), little has changed over the years. The push to expand college-education opportunities, however (fueled, I reckon, by the GI Bill in the ’40s and ’50s and by the civil rights movements of the ’60s), began in the 1960s, and led to an explosion of second-, third- and fourth-tier universities who were only too happy to take your money … and in the meantime, we’ve all seen what’s happened to the quality of “free” primary and secondary education. Which, ironically, has redounded even more to the advantage of the people of means than the earlier, more restricted system IMO.