It Takes More Than A Good Idea To Change Education

There's been lots of chatter but no real consensus surrounding my post yesterday (National Testing Jumps The Shark) -- except for the fact that maybe I was a little too harsh on someone I don't know, for which I apologize.

Gordon is by all accounts a smart and good person, and I didn't mean to say otherwise. I just think he's really, really wrong on this issue -- and that he and others who are pushing it now could be working against their own interests.


It's interesting to me that none of the people who are pushing this as "the" issue right now come from the Hill, or have worked closely with the Hill.

I don't see Mike Cohen of Achieve out on this one. Ditto for Mike Dannenberg, who's been on the Hill more recently than I have. The Education Trust? Nope. I'm sure none of those guys are against it -- neither am I -- but there's a reason they're not pushing it like Fordham and CAP right now.

From what I (and maybe they) learned last time around, there are at least a few key conditions for a successful national standards push -- none of which seem present or on the horizon:

One is widespread public or media dissatisfaction, which I see no real signs of. Everyone seems to be enjoying bashing tests and dismembering NCLB right now. In AA terms, we haven't come anywhere near hitting bottom yet.

Another key condition is a bipartison group of political leaders who are interested in educating and pushing folks on the topic -- like Clinton and Goodling, now long gone.

Obama's just come out for innovation districts so you can see which way he's going. Is there anyone out there who's running on national tests, or talking about them, or who even likes them?

In the comments section below, I think it's fair to say that Kevin Kosar, who studied the last go-round with national tests, basicaly agrees with me that there's no such thing as a "nonpolitical" process.

Ditto for Andy Eduwonk Rotherham, who writes about the advocates that "none of them can explain --beyond generalities-- how this issue actually goes anywhere on the Hill considering the political realities up there."

Mike P over at Fordham says I'm way wrong on this one and that the idea is gaining steam Gordon is "prescient" on education issues. Show me some steam, Mike.

I'll believe I'm wrong on this when some or all of the conditions I've outlined come real, which may happen -- just not soon.


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