Saturday, January 15, 2011

Education Week Gives Arkansas High Marks

Progressive Arkansas has a link up noting that Arkansas Education was ranked 6th in the nation by Education Week magazine. They posted it without comment, but to me the details provide a lesson in hype verses reality in education fads.

Our high overall rank was due to high rankings in three categories. "Transitions and Alignment" (1); "The Teaching Profession" (2) ; and "Standards, Assessments and Accountability" (7).

"Transitions and Alignment" means how quickly Arkansas jumps unto whatever latest BS (bovine scat) fad the Feds want to implement. The "Teaching Profession" refers to how many hoops we make someone jump through to get in the teaching profession and stay there. It means we require a lot of bogus "teacher training" which guides teachers on how to implement the "transitions" to "alignment" with beltway education standards. The "Standards, Assessments and Accountability" refers to how much our student testing lines up with said transition and alignment goals, and accountability refers to how big a stick the state uses on districts who don't comply.

The whole premise is that conformity to federal education standards is a good thing. It's not. There is no reason to have anymore faith or confidence in DC on education than we do in any other area of life. Perhaps less so since by definition, any federal initiative in education is done in spite of zero constitutional role for them in education.

And that leads me to where Arkansas is weak in education, according to the magazine. "K-12 Achievement" (36) and "Chances for Success" (45). Ironically, our education system scores very well in keeping up with federal fads, but does not do too well at actually getting students to achieve and be successful. But hey, who cares about that so long as we follow the program DC has in mind for us?

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