Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Most Important Thing to Understand about Future Economic Growth (and Inequality)

Matt Yglesias:

The point in both cases is to take a look at the myths and realities of the 1990s economy. They show that the full employment era of the late-1990s really delivered on the promise of equitable and broadly shared growth. It is true that there was a stock-market bubble, but it is also true that most people didn't own much in the way of stock and nonetheless shared in prosperity. Wages rose for working people. And in some ways even more incredibly, jobs became available for people who weren't previously working. With wages on the rise, employers were suddenly willing to invest in training or in taking risks on the "unemployable."

And they show that while of course the economy is a complicated place, this happy era of full employment was largely driven by a single factor—as the unemployment rate hit about 6 percent, conventional wisdom starting braying about the need for tighter money to head off incipient inflation, and Alan Greenspan ignored the conventional wisdom. Some other good things were happening in American public policy at the time, but none of them would have produced this wage growth and growth in job availability if Greenspan had deliberately kept unemployment high as an anti-inflation tactic.

Even if school reformers are right and their policies increase the skill base of the workforce and all sorts of happy feedback loops start happening, the default response would be to raise interest rates to slow the economy to raise unemployment and lower the risk of inflation. Also, too, cut taxes and steal pensions.

Trying Vs. Not Trying

At some point, I will begin doing some Scotland blogging, but in the meantime, I'll just say that one of the interesting things about living in a foreign country that is, overall, quite similar to home is that the subtle differences stick out. In particular you can see what a difference it makes when a country simply tries to do one simple thing that the other does not. For example, in Scotland, they make some effort to have public toilets available in places that are convenient to the public. They aren't perfect or omnipresent, or I imagine evenly distributed, but having some public toilets is a hell of a lot better than essentially none, as in the US.

If you never leave the country, you aren't aware of things we might be doing, but simply don't. Teaching science fits into this category, too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Update on the World's Most Annoying Hobby

Tim and Cynthia Shanahan:

Another example of a disciplinary difference with profound implications for literacy has to do with the role of the author. Research has shown (Shanahan, 1992; Shanahan & Shanahan, under review) clear differences in whether or how those in the various disciplines think about author during reading. For example, it has been shown that in history reading, author is a central construct of interpretation (Wineburg, 1991, 1998). Historians are always asking themselves who this author is and what bias this author brings to the text (somewhat analogous to the lawyer’s common probe, “What did he know and when did he know it?”). Consideration of author is deeply implicated in the process of reading history, and disciplinary literacy experts have hypothesized that “sourcing”: (thinking about the implications of author during interpretation) is an essential history reading process (Wineburg, 1991, 1998) and studies show that it can, at least under some circumstances, be taught to students in a way that improves their learning (Hynd- Shanahan, Holschuh, & Hubbard, 2004).

Since there's clearly the audience for more substantive Common Core analysis and routes to get it out to people (other than this intentionally unpopular blog) I'm trying to come up with something reasonably short and coherent together that will contribute usefully to people's understanding of how we got to this point. The above quote from Tim and Cynthia Shanahan is a bit of a Rosetta Stone for illuminating the fault lines inside the Common Core process. Tim Shanahan, as you may know, was fairly heavily involved in the CC process, and is probably mostly responsible for the sort-of heavy disciplinary literacy emphasis of the standards. I'm not aware of any other standards, at the state level, international or otherwise, that makes literacy in the content areas a top-level concern, so it is a big deal, sort of.

Here's the catch: look at what he and Cynthia use as their example of a distinctive feature of reading in history class -- the author as a central construct of interpretation -- then look at the CC standards for reading in History and Social Studies. Is it in there? No. Why? I'd say literally because there is no anchor standard for it, and since every grade level standard must be aligned directly to an anchor standard, that's it. There may have been more complex arguments in play, but the anchor standard issue should have been sufficient to nix any disciplinary literacy standards that genuinely addressed the current scholarship on disciplinary literacy as understood by the experts working on the standards.

That is, this particular example shows the fault lines between the data and assessment geeks -- who got to establish the strict structure of the standards that everyone else had to work around -- and the people with a direct interest in pedagogy, even those experts who had a prime "seat at the table" and who have significantly enhanced their careers at least temporarily, by aligning themselves with the standards.

This is a kind of discrepancy that never happens in standards of our higher performing international peers. Not that they're perfect, but the Common Core ELA process found unique ways to in its own way.

I'm not really trying to criticize Shanahan here or say he's being a hypocrite, by the way. Nobody who understands American education treats standards with any respect, from Bill Gates to classroom teachers. Nobody expects them to be any more than "close enough for government work," and just tries to do the least harm (as they see it) with whatever the current bullshit is. You don't resign in protest, you get what you can and hope to do better next time around. I get it.

Unnecessarily Pissy Unused Comment

It is a little insulting to say you're paying a teacher $20,000 to take a certain job when you are really paying them $10,000 over two years. You might as well say "What happens when you pay a great teacher half a million dollars (over seven years)?" That applies to quite a few teachers in Providence.

$10,000 is not that much money. We would be happy to take a $10,000 pay cut to get OUT of urban education at this point, and take a job teaching, oh, ANYWHERE SANE, as would thousands of teachers across the country.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh, Barf

Seth Andrew:

Cat's out of the bag. I'm honored to have joined @arneduncan & @usedgov as Senior Advisor.

Friday, November 22, 2013

They Ran Out of Time

I've paused in my CC benchmarking review to write an explanation of structural problems in the Common Core Reading standards, so I'm jumping around the whole thing more and one thing that is becoming painfully obvious is that they just ran out of time. As much as we'd like to think of David Coleman as the evil puppet-master, the fact of the matter is that in this kind of document any small correction takes a long conversation, and there are thousands of things that could be reviewed. And big corrections quickly become impossible, especially corrections in the underlying structure.

This wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't decided that the CC ELA/Literacy needed a bunch of new, unprecedented features, but they did, and then they ran out of time.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bloom-Washing and the Bad Man Theory

I've finished my benchmarking of CC standard R.2, and have been mulling over my conclusions at this point in the process. I've come up with two things:

  • Bloom-washing: In the IT world, there are standard benchmarking suites. You run a standard set of calculations, etc. on different hardware or software to see which is objectively fastest. Which of course leads to optimizations/cheating specific to the benchmark tasks (see also Campbell's Law). We're used to thinking about how curriculum can be overly-focused on "teaching to the test," but there is also the question of whether the standards themselves are manipulated to score higher on common methods of evaluating the rigor of curriculum.

    For example, one common tool for "objectively" assessing the complexity of the tasks in a set of standards is Bloom's Taxonomy, which focuses on a set of verbs, with an increasing presumption of rigor and sophistication. This is the revised (2000) version:

    • Remembering
    • Understanding
    • Applying
    • Analyzing
    • Evaluating
    • Creating

    The unique feature of standard R.2 compared to its counterpart standards from outside the US is its call for students from seventh grade on to "analyze the development" of central ideas or themes in a text. That is, most high-performing province, nation or special administrative district has an outcome that asks students to identify the main and supporting ideas. What is unique about the Common Core is the requirement to "analyze the development." So... why?

    Determining the central idea or theme is, I would argue, an "understanding" task, as is summary. In the vast majority of cases, I can't see why "remembering" or "understanding" is not sufficient to describing the "development" of the theme or main idea. For almost all "informational texts," the development of the main idea is no different than a summary of the text. For most literary texts, it is a fairly linear process. If you've determined the theme, you should be able to come up with a sequence of citations related to the theme. In a small number of cases, this is much more complex. You can easily get a master's thesis over the development of themes in Hamlet, but mostly "analysis" isn't necessary to this task, which is why other outcomes don't use the term.

    It is becoming increasingly clear that the most common assessment of this standard in high-stakes tests will be a two part multiple choice question, asking the student to identify the theme or main idea and select passages which contribute to its development. Is this "analysis" more than "understanding" and "recall?"

    If you ask me, "analyze the development" is in R.2 to get a higher score on Bloom's and other simplistic analyses of standards, which in the end is mostly harmless, but certainly obscures and complexifies the plain meaning of the standards.

    While we're at it, here's a gem of an example task from Appendix B:

    Students summarize the development of the morality of Tom Sawyer in Mark Twain’s novel of the same name and analyze its connection to themes of accountability and authenticity by noting how it is conveyed through characters, setting, and plot. [RL.8.2]

    Can someone diagram that sentence for me?

  • The Bad-Man Theory: I learned about this concept last week on Fred Hess's blog! According to USLegal.com:

    Bad-man theory is a jurisprudential doctrine or belief, according to which a bad person's view of the law represents the best test of what exactly the law is because that person shall carefully and precisely calculate what the rules allow and operate up to the rules' limits.

    This nicely encapsulates the difference in tone between the Common Core standards and its counterparts from outside the US. The Common Core standards in many ways big and small, from imposing percentages of "informational text" and valid ranges of automated measures of textual complexity, to including requirements that "two or more" central ideas or themes must be found by 11th and 12th graders, assumes that teachers, parents, assessment developers and other actors are all trying to undermine their vision, and seeks to predict and block their routes. The authors of curricula in high-performing provinces, nations and special administrative districts simply do not take this approach.

Essential Background Reading for the NECAP Struggle

Sherman Dorn:

I remember the sequence a little differently: the primary pushback came from parents when their children’s high school graduation was threatened. When the test was crafted in the mid-90s, the original plan was for AIMS to become the graduation test for the high school class of 2001. But when there were problems guaranteeing instructional validity (i.e., making sure all students required to take the test had been taught what the test covered), Keegan proposed a one-year delay, almost 15 years ago to the day. Then in 2000 and 2001, as it was clear that students were failing the exam in well-off communities such as Scottsdale, there was enormous pressure on legislators to modify the implementation of the graduation requirement. Keegan left her position, AIMS was delayed, and the cut-score thresholds were dropped quite a bit in terms of the number of students who were failing. On that last point, Ladner and I agree, but not on the cause. While educators were deeply concerned with what they saw, nothing would have changed without suburban parents who complained to their legislators. I think it’s clear in retrospect this was a classic case of Keegan’s system brought down by a politically-unacceptable failure rate.

Monday, November 18, 2013

You Know This Is Exactly What They've Been Saying to Each Other Behind Closed Doors for Years

Valerie Strauss:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote Monday that “clumsy phrasing” was behind controversial comments he made Friday when he told state schools superintendents meeting in Richmond that it was “fascinating” that some opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

The odd part is that he'd say it is "fascinating." It is the completely predictable decisive point in the whole process. You'd think they'd have the talking points ready for this moment.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Common Core Advocates Lack All Conviction


The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Like most people, I'm sensitive to being on the losing ("best") side of Yeats' quote, e.g., of course Obama care kind of sucks, we should just have single-payer, but it's better than nothing!

I can't think of a time when the other side in a major public debate has displayed as little passionate intensity as Common Core advocates are managing to muster.

For example:

So, I will be in Chicago on January 11 to speak to the Modern Language Association at its annual convention on the subject of the Common Core. Originally, I was scheduled to debate David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core, but he said he had to attend a board meeting in California and withdrew.

Or the warmed over leftovers served up at Common Core Watch lately.

The problem, of course, is that they can't argue specifics, particularly in ELA, because ultimately nobody likes or cares about the specifics. It is an uncomfortable position to find oneself in, even if many of your loudest opponents are cranks.

School Reform as Feudalism

Henry Farrell:

The cosy relationship between corporations like CGI Federal and Booz Allen and the government bears a strong resemblance to feudalism (which, stripped of the pageantry, was a complex web of relations and privileges between a small and privileged elite of nobles and the state). It bears an even stronger resemblance to Old Corruption, the strangling web of sinecures and emoluments that radicals like William Cobbett inveighed against in the early nineteenth century. Government – even at the best of times – has many clunky and inefficient features (the American version particularly so – many of the worst inflexibilities of the US government have their origins in people’s distrust of it). Yet the replacement of large swathes of government with a plethora of impenetrable subcontracting relationships is arguably even worse – it has neither the efficiencies (sometimes) achieved by markets, nor the accountability (sometimes) achieved by democratic oversight.

Combine this with pension-raiding and you've got at least 80% of the motivation for contemporary school reform.

Look at Blackstone Valley Prep. If Dan McKee named himself Duke McKee, Lord of Blackstone Valley Prep, how would that be any different? He can be voted out of the Mayor's office, but he's not going to be voted out of his Mayoral Academy. It is his publicly funded fiefdom for life. Unless the other lords turn against him, ofc.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Profiles in Intellectual Cowardice

Wendy Holmes:

Why does the Commissioner want to shield her work from public scrutiny? Why would anyone? As embargoed dissertations are increasingly common across the country, a primary impetus comes from doctoral candidates hoping to publish their research in book form in order to compete for teaching jobs in colleges and universities. Electronic access to dissertations jeopardizes future publications, they claim, and some disciplines, faculties, and scholarly groups are inclined to agree and advocate for long or renewable embargo periods. Others in academe challenge this position on factual grounds or on behalf of the traditional scholarly values of openness and interchange. This is a controversial issue and every aspect of academic embargo is subject to debate. How long? Renewable or not? What reasons? Who decides? The answers are different for various degree-granting institutions and, sometimes, for different sectors of the same institution.

We know from that interesting title that Gist has completed a case study of her role in devising an evaluation system for Rhode Island teachers. From the dissertation abstract, which is now available from ProQuest (free through university libraries), we know a little more: that she studies “adaptive” change, required by new situational factors and often accompanied by feelings of loss or disorientation on the part of the changees, that she has developed a model of “Elementary Leadership,” and that she intends to use this model in “future leadership of large-scale change.” Her future leadership may be in another state or in the national Department of Education. She may become a more active Change Chief and work with Jeb Bush or the Broad Academy or the Gates Foundation. She may consult or head a charter school group or invent an entirely new educational organization.

So why doesn’t she want her dissertation read now? Wouldn’t its new input be of value in current discussions of testing, accountability, and teacher evaluation? Wouldn’t it add to her stature as a prominent education reformer? Does she plan to revise it and publish a book? What privacy issues could be involved? As a high-ranking state employee writing about her own job and her own staff, doesn’t she owe some account of her leadership model to the people of Rhode Island? Who would be more interested in her Ocean State Voyage than Rhode Islanders? Who would be better equipped to compare the dissertation’s view of her leadership with its practical results than Rhode Island teachers, parents, and students?

It is kind of weird coming from the wife of "transparency's sidekick."

What Would You Do, Mr. Smarty-Pants?

Eric Westendorf, last week's guest blogger at Rick Hess's and co-founder of LearnZillion, was a classmate of mine in the Brown MAT class of 1999. He was Social Studies and I was English, but it is a little boutique program, and we had an unusually close-knit group, so we got to know each other fairly well. Played some ultimate. We haven't kept in touch though.

And if you read his last post, a lot of it is in my wheelhouse: Open Source! Lesson Study! Yet... now that LearnZillion has some secondary ELA lessons, they're... kind of awful. I participated in enough discussions of educational philosophy, psychology and pedagogy to figure that Eric would on some level agree with that (although I certainly wouldn't expect him to admit it, maybe even to himself). If you saw, for example, the work the Arts/Literacy project at Brown did with Central Falls High School students and teachers working with professional actors to interpret Shakespeare... it isn't even a fair comparison to a straitjacketed CC textual analysis whiteboard video.

The thing is, this is one case where I could send Eric an email outlining the above, perhaps a bit more tactfully, and expect that at least he would respond with a "OK, so how should we be doing this?"

The entire "lesson sharing" problem is much, much harder than it appears to the surface, so there's no glib answer to that question, but I would be willing to have a crack at it circa 2013, if it wasn't for the Common Core situation. A central problem with LearnZillion's secondary ELA lessons is they're just too closely aligned with the CC, which makes them deadly dull. I don't know how to get around that.

When we organized a curriculum around performance standards (The New Standards) at FHS, it was fine because it was inherently a project-based interdisciplinary curriculum with standards that emphasized applied learning and authentic student work. The themes and questions driving the curriculum were external to English class, but that worked fine.

The same sort of thing would work -- less well -- with CC, but you can't assume a multidisciplinary context if you're just publishing ELA lessons on a website.

If you already have an ELA curriculum, you can modify it to hit the CC notes, while still having the big themes and context coming from whatever it is already drives things, but again, these lessons are probably not going to be useful out of context.

If you're just starting from scratch with nothing but the Common Core standards... I have no idea what to do. Anything other than "Read text X, perform textual analysis task Y," just seems arbitrary, and there is no reason to think anything else would be applicable to someone else's Common Core ELA class.

Obviously, in real life, teachers successfully muddle through these issues every day. I'm not even making a principled stand here... I just don't get it. What is the basis of the ELA curriculum outside of the skill and task-driven CC even supposed to be? What is the nature of this dark matter? I have no idea.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Common Core Year Implementation Year 4+

I've been looking a few new Common Core aligned curriculum units floating around, and while much concern today is justifiably on the difficulty of transitioning kids to CC requirements mid-stream, I'm not sure if the situation gets better after everyone's been introduced to ELA class based on a narrow range of textual analysis tasks and skills that change relatively little year over year..

Kids are supposed to start finding the theme in literature in grade 4. Are you going to re-teach that every year? At a certain point can you assume it? If kids haven't gotten it after three years, what are you going to do to make them start getting it? Should there be an implicit assumption, eventually, that you don't have to teach most high school students big blocks of the standards?

Most importantly, are kids just going to lose it after doing the same thing over and over?

An Illuminating Juxtaposition

McKinsey (a few years ago):

A persistent gap in academic achievement between children in the United States and their counterparts in other countries deprived the US economy of as much as $2.3 trillion in economic output in 2008, McKinsey research finds. Moreover, each of the long-standing achievement gaps among US students of differing ethnic origins, income levels, and school systems represents hundreds of billions of dollars in unrealized economic gains. Together, these disturbing gaps underscore the staggering economic and social cost of underutilized human potential. Yet they also create room for hope by suggesting that the widespread application of best practices could secure a better, more equitable education for the country’s children—along with substantial economic gains.


According to the paper (with the unassuming title “Aggregate Supply in the United States: Recent Developments and Implications for the Conduct of Monetary Policy”), our seemingly endless slump has done long-term damage through multiple channels. The long-term unemployed eventually come to be seen as unemployable; business investment lags thanks to weak sales; new businesses don’t get started; and existing businesses skimp on research and development.

What’s more, the authors — one of whom is the Federal Reserve Board’s director of research and statistics, so we’re not talking about obscure academics — put a number to these effects, and it’s terrifying. They suggest that economic weakness has already reduced America’s economic potential by around 7 percent, which means that it makes us poorer to the tune of more than $1 trillion a year. And we’re not talking about just one year’s losses, we’re talking about long-term damage: $1 trillion a year for multiple years.

Are these complimentary, contradictory, or what? Well... more McKinsey

>We made three noteworthy assumptions: test scores are the best available measure of educational achievement; educational achievement and attainment (including milestones such as graduation rates) are key drivers in hiring and are positively correlated with earnings; and labor markets will hire available workers with higher skills and education. While these assumptions admittedly simplify the socioeconomic complexities and uncertainties, they allowed us to draw meaningful conclusions about the economic impact of educational gaps in the United States.

Oh, I see... yes, if you assume higher paying jobs will magically appear for all educated workers, that's... quite an assumption.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

If Doyle Were King...

Every screen would be (over)balanced with direct access to the outdoors. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Who Was Project Manager of the Common Core?

All you really have to do is line up the reading anchor standards with their 11-12th grade instances to realize that there was a serious lack of overarching project management in the Common Core ELA/Literacy process. Nobody disciplined the grade-level teams to keep things aligned vertically and horizontally. Nobody said "No, you can't just change that language without a clear and compelling reason." There are other countries with standards that are extremely redundant, but they at least maintain some discipline and consistency.

OTOH, pointing this issue out isn't that helpful in stopping the Common Core insofar as fixing the problems definitively would take about a week of cut/copy/pasting.

It is one of the most devastating lines of attack though if you just want to undermine the authority of the CC's authors and advocates.

Four Ways of Saying "R.2"

Students should be able to:

  • (apply) ...different ways of analyzing texts.
  • ...identify the main and supporting ideas of texts.
    • Give an account of the gist of a text.
    • Specify appropriate details for relevant purposes.
    • Summarise the information they obtained from a text.
    • Develop an awareness of their own response to texts and analyse and justify that response.
    • Indicate aspects of the narrative which they found significant and attempt to explain fully the meaning thus generated.
    • Compare texts in different genres on the same theme.
  • Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.

That's Finland, New South Wales, Ireland and Common Core. If you ask me, the Irish are the clear winner here both in terms of decomposing the issue and and just superior writing. NWS's version seems sufficient. Finland is kind of on its own planet. It is the tone of CC that is most jarring. It is the only one that says "I am a controlling, rigor-obsessed asshole."

One Good Result of the Common Core Rollout: More Teachers Blogging Pointedly About Why The Proprietary Curriculum They're Forced to Use Sucks

Katie Lapham:

I know of no teacher – including one in Ohio – who is satisfied with ReadyGEN’s ELA program. The anchor texts (literature) may be authentic, but the reading and writing tasks are not. Pearson’s ReadyGEN is a poorly and hastily designed test prep program to get students ready for next year’s high-stakes Common Core ELA assessment. The NYC DOE could have saved a lot of money if they had instead provided schools with just the copies of the anchor texts, class sets of titles such as Rachel Carson: Pioneer of Ecology. Sample reading and writing questions and suggested performance tasks could have been posted online. From what I’ve observed, the Student Materials workbook (see below photo) is being used minimally.

One reformy cliche has been that we need an "Amazon for curriculum." It should be clear to anyone who uses Amazon that this will never happen, insofar as the latest and greatest from Pearson or the College Board will never prominently display the results of be a minimally regulated five-star rating and comment system, where the unwashed masses have as much say as their betters.

Ten years ago, I figured the time was ripe for teachers to use their own blogs to slag the crap they're forced to use in their own classroom, but apparently the right combinations of technology, policy and conciousness have only recently come to fruition.

I don't think reformers (or anyone) understand what has been unleashed.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Brain Worms

Kathleen Porter-Magee:

In the case of the Common Core, the standards say, for instance, that fourth-grade students should “determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text” and that second graders should “estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.”

These are outcomes—outcomes that demonstrate no preference for traditional pedagogy over constructivism, even if we at Fordham have our own preferences. They are outcomes that do not indicate how long you spend on particular topics, what order they should be taught, and on. Nor do the standards provide sample practice items or guidance about how to introduce or reinforce the concepts and content behind these expectations.

And so, when we say that Common Core do not prescribe curriculum, we mean very simply that those decisions—decisions about what books will be taught, about what writing assignments students will do, about how to introduce concepts, about how to build knowledge, about whether to use discovery learning or traditional methods—are made by local leaders and teachers.

But... what's the deal with that fourth grade standard, particularly (my emphasis):

Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text...

I read these things and even now they seem perfectly reasonable at first, but then they worm around in my brain for a day and a half or so and stop making sense. Why would you tell a fourth grader to determine the theme from details? Wouldn't you determine the theme from considering the work as a whole? CC ELA/Literacy wants you to teach it this way from grades 3 through 6. After that you have to start analyzing the development of the theme. I'm not sure exactly what that entails, but at least it sounds better.

The thing is, what really is in play here is not so much a conflict between describing what students should be able to do (determine the theme) and how to teach/do it (from details in the text) in terms of this standards/curriculum dichotomy. I'm sure it is just the testing guys throwing in the "details in the text" so they could write the kinds of questions they had in mind, e.g.:

Part 1: The theme is a) Love; b) Death; c) Both

Part 2: Which of the following details support your answer...

Won't You Help Preserve the My Drumming Discography for Posterity?

I did some of my better drumming for Vehicle Flips, before quitting in a fit of pique. I'm not even sure how many of these songs I drummed on, but I like my playing on this one.

Apparently I'm Not the Only One Who Noticed This

Sherman Dorn:

And, on the other side, why are Common Core proponents so passionate about everything except the standards themselves? You are wedded to the standards as a solid planning document and are missing the fact that talking up the standards without mentioning anything specific is like telling younger teenagers they should read Romeo and Juliet as “great literature” without mentioning that the plot revolves around forbidden love, gang warfare, and suicide pacts. Good grief, folks, if you like the repeated and close reading ideas in the English/language arts standards, could you memorize a few of the standards and be willing to recite and defend them in public?

Not So Surprising to People Experiencing Obama's Education Policy


But it's something of a surprise to read that the neo-liberal technocrats of the Obama administration apparently just thought all this was going to come together without a certain set of skills and experience to make it happen. Experts tried to warn them.