Do you remember all the politically-motivated outrage, mostly centered in Florida, over the Advanced Placement African American Studies pilot course? I know that was a few months back, an eternity ago in internet time, and we’ve moved on to other faux crises, but…
Anyway, one of my first thoughts when all the stupidity from the governor and his rabble was to wonder what Jay Mathews would have to say.
If “concurrent” schooling is the worst idea to be produced during the pandemic (and it is), a close second are all the proposals (starting with the Biden administration) to resume standardized testing this spring.
In the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog Wayne Au, a professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington at Bothell and an editor for the social justice magazine Rethinking Schools, explains why.
In a recent post for the Class Struggle blog, the state superintendent of public instruction for Washington State has ten suggestions for a potential Biden/Harris1 administration “to undo the damage Betsy DeVos did to public education”.
He gets off to a great start with “Grant a national waiver of all federally mandated tests required under the Every Student Succeeds Act until Congress has an opportunity to amend the law.”.
Almost from the start of the chaotic, but necessary, shift to online schooling last spring, articles started appearing about the amount of learning that students were going to miss. Including several studies claiming to “estimate the size of the learning loss students have experienced under such conditions”, although they didn’t make clear where researchers obtained meaningful data to arrive at their conclusions.
As students head back to school, still mostly online, we have even more stories about students falling behind, including one British study predicting that “lost school time will hurt economy for 65 years”. Again with few details about how they obtained their “huge base of evidence”.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind while reading these reports.
One more bit of education-related bad commentary from The Washington Post, and then I’ll give up on this topic for a while.1
This particular column comes from executives at a “nonprofit working with education organizations”, which is another way of saying consulting firm in these parts. They’ve been given this space to explain “why Joe Biden shouldn’t give up on public charter schools or standardized testing”.