Thursday, April 09, 2009

Phi Delta Kappa Drawn into the Broad Axis?

Susan Ohanian's piece "PDK Publishes a Love Letter to the Broad Foundation" is helpful in pulling together some of the various forces at play in Providence's schools right now. One thing that caught me off guard here is that the current drive to abruptly undo a decade's worth of various reforms and local initiatives was instigated by an analysis of the district that carried the respected (by me, even) Phi Delta Kappa seal.

It is all this kind of stuff (from the Kappan article):

We know from research that teachers' actions in the classroom have the greatest impact on student achievement, so the Broad finalists' right focus on curriculum that truly guides teachers 'work, approaches to instruction that help teachers adjust to the needs of each student, and assessments that help teachers understand student learning is a powerful triad of support. (emphasis in original)

Yesterday Jennifer and I were discussing how "non-negotiable" is our district administration's new favorite word. Apparently it is not a conicidence:

Both Miami-Date and Broward County give schools nine-week plans with nonnegotiable expectations of what will be taught.

A few particular points are striking: the extent to which all this is not backed up by data, and how different it is from Broad policy on charters and other issues. I don't know if Broad is making big conributions to PDK, but then again, does it really matter? People sell out for free all the time.

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