Is An Ed Wonk’s Dream for Education Reform Really a Nightmare?
In case you missed it yesterday, here is the latest edition of Fordham Institute’s April Fool’s articles celebrating #fakenews in education reform. Michael Petrilli reveals every ed reformer’s dream (becoming the Secretary of the Department of Education) and his education verbiage is ‘yuge’ as he answers Senator Franken’s questions (in this April Fool’s edition) in how best to determine how students are performing. From The Fordham Institute in “A Wonk’s Dream” in which President Jeb Bush nominates Petrilli as the Department of Education:
He wows the crowd with his use of the word “heteroskedasticity” and after he finishes, people cheer wildly as he is the Department of Education Secretary they’ve been waiting for! But the question is, who ‘are’ those cheering folks in the crowd clips? Do you know of any parents clamoring for more Common Core aligned assessments, more measurements for student proficiency and/or growth, and wanting to measure the causal impact of student achievement on a teacher and/or school? Is your goal for your student the same as an ed reformer’s goal? According to Petrilli, if the (presumed) goal is to measure the causal impact of achievement from a student/school, an ‘accurate prediction of the performance of those actors then a value-added growth model is the best way to go’. He then talks about how parents may want to look both at proficiency and growth rates and by those numbers parents could determine whether their child is meeting/exceeding that data. There is no debate on whether or not that data is valid and the students are being taught appropriate material, but that’s an issue he doesn’t address in his Senate hearing.
He introduces heteroskedasticity in his closing statement, as it applies to measuring teachers in high poverty schools, and Franken is pleased and/or positively stunned by Petrilli’s vast knowledge of VAM and proficiency testing. Petrilli contends this use of testing should make parents very happy. Not only is Franken pleased, so are the unnamed crowds:
Was this cheering and celebration on display at the various ESSA meetings state educational agencies held with parents to discuss testing and other plans the states have in mind for publicly educated students? Did your state even provide meetings in which public input was gathered? It was directed to do so by the Department of Education. When were those meetings held in Missouri? There were no meetings and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is in violation of the law. From Other States Get To Comment On Their State Education Plan – Missourians Do Not:
It’s unlikely that those celebrating Petrilli’s ideas as the USDOEd secretary were Missouri parents or parents from other states. Are there any non-NGO websites or parent driven Facebook groups clamoring for more assessments and data driven education for their children? There is one screenshot on the Gadfly April Fool’s page that most parents/taxpayers believe is more truth than spoof:
Not only are the state educational agencies largely unconcerned with parental input, so are most of the NGO education think tanks. The Gadfly has clever April Fool’s Day publications and it’s invaluable for parents to take a peek into what an educational wonk dreams of. Many parents/taxpayers don’t share that same dream. In fact, maybe this is their dream for education reform: