The Next Great Milestone in Public Education?

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    In his special report, New York Sun columnist William Tucker asserts the
    consensus on educational reform is beginning to unravel. (No Critics Left Behind; Published 1/13/2004 12:06:34 AM )

    No surprise there.

    Tucker correctly notes, “[u]nder NCLB, states must test their schools for
    performance.”

    For the first time ever, the feds are attempting to find out exactly what has
    been purchased for all the federal money squandered on public education since
    the days of the Great Society. The pinch of real accountability is quite
    painful for the comfortable educrats long accustomed to blue skying a cornucopia
    of good intentions and untested feel good “reforms” with the sure knowledge of
    escaping ”’any”’ consequence when the latest Peter Pan approach fails to pan out.

    In my state — the only state in the union with a single statewide school
    district “managed” [mangled] by an out of control, utterly unaccountable
    bureaucratic colossus masquerading as a department of education — the annual test is
    sheer humbug trotted out in pretense of NCLB compliance.

    At latest count, the Department of Education sucks a staggering one point nine B*I*L*L*I*O*N
    dollars out of a struggling state economy in a single fiscal year. It gets worse.
    In recent days the state Supe has appeared before the Legislature to complain
    about the lack of adequate funding.

    Our fab DOE stubbornly refuses to establish ”’any”’ academic curriculum
    whatsoever, measurable performance standards aligned to curriculum, or even a common
    grading scale to define the traditional grades A, B, C, &c. Indeed the DOE is
    piloting “report cards” in which these traditional grades will disappear
    altogether.

    Absent a curriculum, each teacher is free spend the academic year teaching
    (or not teaching) anything that strikes his or her fancy.

    Children are thus “tested” by the DOE on material they may or may not have
    been taught.

    Based on results of this “test”, the DOE publicly lists all the schools
    designated as failing to have achieved proficiency as defined by the DOE. In the
    latest round of such tests, every public high school in the state was cited as
    “failing”.

    If a teacher is naive enough to ask, “what questions did my students most
    often miss in the last test?” in hopes of modifying his or her own personal
    curriculum to help students achieve proficiency, the DOE answer is that the
    contractor who has been paid to produce the test refuses to release this information.

    Bottom line? The DOE refuses to do its job yet points the finger of blame at
    schools and teachers publicly designated as “failing.”

    And what of the teachers union to which every public school teacher is
    compelled to pay dues in this “closed shop” state? What does the union say when
    teachers are labeled as failures by the DOE bureaucrats? The silence is deafening.
    The suspicion of some teachers is that “their” union and the DOE are cozy
    political bedfellows, both recoilng in horror at the prospect of ”’any”’ change in
    the comfortable status quo.

    It is my view that George — and especially former school teacher Laura —
    Bush deserve enormous credit for exposing the great hoax masquerading as public
    education. For formerly comfortable educrats high up in the bureaucratic food
    chain, funding and upward career mobility are ”’everything.”’ As for the kids?
    “Let ’em eat cake.”

    I sincerely hope the president will get the necessary public backing —
    especially from parents of children now being robbed of educational opportunity —
    to roll out the next great milestone in public education: the guillotine.

    ”’Thomas E. Stuart, a public school teacher in Kapaau, Hawaii, can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:Thom1s@aol.com

    ”’HawaiiReporter.com reports the real news, and prints all editorials submitted, even if they do not represent the viewpoint of the editors, as long as they are written clearly. Send editorials to”’ mailto:Malia@HawaiiReporter.com

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