States "Trying To Put Off The Day of Reckoning"

It feels good when smarter and larger outfits than mine (like the Post editorial page) agree with what I pretty much alone have been saying the past few weeks: that the growth model version of AYP is not a good idea.


While everyone else has been hedging and wait-and-seeing, I -- and now the Post -- are pretty clear that giving states yet another way to avoid labelling schools as failing and doing something about it is bad policy.

"That so many states are bidding to try such a scheme is a bad sign," states the Post in a Saturday editorial (No State Left Behind ). "It means that nearly half the country's school systems do not believe it is possible to make all or even most of their students proficient within a decade....Worse, it looks as though many states are now trying to put off the day of reckoning. We hope the education secretary will be stingy with permissions to join this pilot program, and we hope its tenure is brief."

UPDATE: Missing the main point of the post, which is that the mainstream media might finally be taking a critical look at what's going on over at the USDE, Eduwonk feels that there have been some others who've questioned the growth model (It's A Bird, It's A Plane, No, It's Russo! Our Last Hope!).


Anonymous Mike G. said...

Lots of pro-standards folks I respect worry about the Value-Add framework, which I tend to cautiously support. I certainly agree that many states/districts simply want to water down the NCLB provisions through Value-Add. But I don't understand why we can't vie to both a) defeat the diluters, and b) mathematically improve the accountability regime. Sure, it requires that Spellings will hold the line - separating those whose intent is to dilute accountability from those whose intent is to "legitimately make accountabilty more precise." Do you believe that this is impossible/implausible?

I should probably read other posts you've written on this.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Alexander Russo said...

hey, mike -- thanks for your thoughts, and no need to read more of my posts. you get the idea, and i haven't said that much beyond i'm against it.

ideally what you're describing would work, and the world would be a better place. and that may happen, in which case i will have been wrong and overly pessimistic yet again.

but i don't see how it plays out that way, given the pressures and people involved, and i don't like the idea of so many different NCLBs in so many different places.

it's not just that we're going to have 50 different state standards, which we always had right from the start, but 50 different interpretations of NCLB (through waivers etc. over the last years) plus 10 more different pilot efforts.

hmm. maybe i'm against it because it confuses me. i want a single federal law, with state differences, not what seems like 50 + different laws.

also, even if it works out perfectly, doesn't it seem that it creates all sorts of problems for reauthorization? that's a tactical and political not substantive objection, but still...

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Phyllis McClure said...

Prior to NCLB, federal law left accountbility measures up to the states. Almost all used "improvement" like a growth model. The experience showed that states set the smallest possible inch of "growth" in order to keep the number of schools in need of improvement small and the public reassured about the quality of public education. It was that experience with state-determined "growth" that led Congresss to try the "proficient" approach.
Some states are trying to turn the clock back.
Phyllis McClure

3:05 PM  

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