Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CANADA: Write Your Governor to Demand World Class Standards!

The funniest part of the Waiting for Superman website is probably the CANADA page, which features this quote at top-left:

Canada has consistently performed well in international achievement assessments and is a top performer internationally in Reading, Math and Science.

Indeed! Without using the strategies you advocate, including national standards! If you follow the GET THE FACTS button you can find out exciting things like how in Canada:

Whole system reform means that every vital part of the system – school, community, district, and government – contributes individually and in concert to forward movement and success, using practice, not research, as the driver of reform.


...reducing class size can make a positive difference to teaching and learning particularly when combined with other policies that support effective classroom practice.


The Boston page is less funny but still puzzling. It says:

In 2006, Boston Public Schools received the Broad Prize for the best school district in the nation, but scores have since slipped.

OK... first off, what does that say about the Broad Prize? Perhaps their "criteria... grounded in research-based school and district practices found to be effective in three key areas: teaching and learning, district leadership, and operations and support systems" are flawed. Except, of course, that Boston's scores have not significantly slipped since 2006. They also cite this statistic:

6.4% of (Boston "traditional" public school students) will drop out.
Which sounds pretty good to me, particularly since I'm used to hearing cohort on-time graduation rates now, not annual dropout rates (which are much lower by nature). I think they're a little confused too, because the Chicago page says "42.5% of them will drop out," so while Chicago is worse regardless, this is not an apples to apples comparison.

And, in what seems to be the standard "Get Involved" option they encourage you to write the governor and encourage him to support the Common Core standards, which, of course, he already does in Massachusetts. They don't try to explain why you should prefer the Common Core standards either. They couldn't have chosen a less engaging way to get people involved.

This is a mess, really. I'm not quaking in my boots.

1 comment:

Stephen Downes said...

I love the bit about asking people to take the pledge to give books to Canada's schoolchildren. Oh! the humanity!