Friday, October 02, 2009

the crazy logic of declining curriculum standards

I've been working with and working around bad curriculum standards for so long now that the idea that standards might be worth fighting for has become counter intuitive.

However, in a thoroughly researched blog about English Arts standards in the US of A, Tom Hoffman reminds me that some countries can discover new creatively disgraceful ways to race to the bottom even faster.

They are about to turn their English Arts standards over to testing companies and of course dumbed down standards are easier to test than more demanding standards

There is a crazy logic in this development which I have seen being played out in Australia over the past 15-20 years

1. Give teachers some autonomy. Social disadvantage does not reduce. Progressivist educators gnash teeth and wail.
2. Reluctantly, we conclude that teachers can't be trusted to fix it so we have to find a way to measure their work and hold them accountable
3. Progressively introduce more and more measuring (standardized test such as NAPLAN) and accountability techniques (comparisons between so called like schools)

Does this whole process logically lead to handing over the Curriculum standards to testing companies? Tom demonstrates that things can become much worse.

Given that our education minister, Julia Gillard is infatuated with the methods of Joel Klein (Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education), then this development makes me even more nervous.

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