Thursday, November 20, 2008

Zeitgeist Alert

I think this is a good indicator of the direction the wind is blowing:

"Unfortunately, so much of the discussion is around academic outcomes that people are going to make some false choices," Canada said. “We are going to create a hole that we are not going to be able to dig ourselves out of.”

Another panelist tried to calm Canada’s fears, saying that programs that are considered successful won’t be at risk. “They’re still going to fund results,” the panelist said.

But funding results is exactly the problem, Canada replied. The emphasis in recent years has turned so squarely onto results — usually in the form of test scores — that programs that don’t demonstrate a clear academic benefit are in jeopardy, even when they are valuable, he said.

Canada said funders often ask him questions like, “You’ve got that chess program — how are the kids’ grades?” He said he thinks, “That’s what we pay the chess instructor for. When I send my kid to play soccer I don’t expect his reading scores to go up!”

And funders often ask for evidence of success that is difficult or impossible to generate, Canada said — evidence that he pointed out isn’t required in other fields.

“We’re giving huge amounts of money to people who admit that not only have they failed … but they almost destroyed the whole economic system of the world,” Canada said, his voice rising as he referred to the Wall Street bailout that is costing taxpayers more than $700 billion. “Then somebody asks me if kids should take violin and do I have evidence?!”

Also, you totally should be reading GothamSchools.

1 comment:

Downes said...

It's not even simply that... it's that these very people who have demonstrably failed are the people who are demanding that education justify itself (against those same failed metrics).