I got to thinking about all the educational schemes that are constantly cooked up in Trenton, Washington and throughout the U.S. What really impresses me is not the results they yield but the grandiose sounding names that are dreamt up for these fruitless projects. The ability to continuously conjure up such pretentious titles (and of course, the catchy sounding acronyms) is astonishing especially in light of their constant failure to help improve the education of our children.
The Renaissance Act
The Urban Hope Act
No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
The Race to the Top
The Quality Education Act (QEA)
Thorough and Efficient (T&E)
High School Proficiency (HSPT)
Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment (GEPA)
Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC)
Comprehensive Education Improvement and Financing Act (CEIFA)
The School Funding Reform Act
The New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK)
NJ ASK 3
NJ ASK 3-8
Minimum Basic Skills testing program (MBS)
Early Warning Test (EWT)
Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA)
Elementary School Proficiency Assessment (ESPA)
Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS)
Professional Improvement Plan (PIP)
None of these programs and tests occurred before the 1970s. Up to that time, education was left in the hands of local school boards and teachers.
The system must have worked quite well since during the that prior time a record number of people were graduated from high school and college, America remained and improved its position as a world economic power, we sent men to the moon, we instituted civil rights for all and we backed down the Soviet Union.
Not bad for a country with an inferior educational system that was seen to require all the remedies which have been proposed and imposed during the past forty years!
I can only think of a few reasons as to why such a plethora of dictates are constantly issued from the DOEs.
(1) it is an attempt to justify the positions of public officials and the executives in the DOE (public education has to be saved and they are the ones who will do it)
(2) the state no longer trusts local school boards and teachers to provide the best possible education for their children (even though they did so for decades prior)
(3) the state feels that local school boards and teachers are incapable of providing sound education (even though they did so for decades prior)
(4) teacher's salaries have become too high and we need justification to lower them
(5) politicians will be able to better promote the privatization of public schools thereby allowing select individuals and corporations to reap the rewards
(6) maybe they really do think that education can be improved by the myriad of programs and proposals. I would like to think that this is their motive so that I might view them as being misguided rather than sinister - but I’m not so sure this is the case?
What do you think?
I have contacted the NJDOE and asked who constructs and publishes the aforementioned tests (and is well paid with taxpayer money I am sure). Of course, once again, no one was there to answer my questions.
“They will call back” was the reply from the secretary.
I left my number and email address.
So far, I have received the same reply as that from “Students First” – NONE!