search
top

Carnivals, Carnivals, Carnivals!

carnivals!

If you’re as busy as I’ve been for the last few days, you’ll look forward to winding down with a few education carnivals.

What It’s Like on the Inside is hosting the 169th Carnival of Education – and there are lots and lots of good entries here.

Personally, I don’t think that Carl Chew is much like John Adams, the American Revolutionaries or any other American hero, but someone does.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is over at HomeSchoolBuzz.com – I particularly liked Jacque Dixon’s post on gardening/homeschooling.

10 Responses to “Carnivals, Carnivals, Carnivals!”

  1. Jacque Dixon says:

    Thanks for the mention!

  2. Personally, I don’t think Carl Chew has much in common with John Adams, either…and I wrote the blog you’re referring to in your post. I did say that some people see him as a hero, and others interpret his actions as taking the focus off what school testing does to kids and curriculum, and putting it on him. Kind of a Cindy Sheehan thing– it’s always better to be thinking seriously about the issues than grabbing the spotlight.

    John Adams and countless others did risk everything to establish a representative democracy–a fairly out-there idea, in 1776. My point was that we have drifted further away from the concept (whether rhetorical or real) of democratic equality in our public education system.

  3. Jacque,

    No problem – it was a neat post, I brought it up in a conversation today!

  4. Nancy,

    You mentioned those who see Carl Chew as a hero and you mentioned those who see him as a distraction from the evils of testing.

    Oddly enough, you never mentioned those folks who might think that Carl Chew isn’t a hero and that testing isn’t all that evil.

  5. Ever administered a standardized test in a public school, Matt? I have–for about 25 years, in fact.

    Here’s your statement: Standardized testing isn’t all that evil.

    My state was an early proponent of statewide standardized assessments, two decades before NCLB. We gave them in 4th, 7th and 10th grade as benchmarks to determine whether teachers were teaching the state curriculum, and to determine who was wildly off the achievement norms. Those schools and districts received technical and other assistance.

    It doesn’t hurt kids to be tested occasionally and it doesn’t hurt schools to know that the district down the road is doing significantly better/worse, especially when you can find out what they’re doing that seems to be working. All of this is dependent on high-quality assessments, linked to high-quality learning goals, administered to provide information that makes teaching more effective and learning more likely. You know, school improvement. A good thing.

    This is not what we have now, under NCLB. Whether you think Carl Chew is a hero or a grandstanding jerk, testing the daylights out of kids isn’t telling us what we need to know to fix bad schools or move toward the kinds of applied, high-level learning necessary for the future of kids most dependent on public schooling. Nor is the intense focus on test preparation and scores (replete with pep rallies to fire kids up for testing, and free breakfast on test days) helpful.

    If we’re looking to make public schools better across the board, we need something besides tests. If our goal is picking winners and losers, tests will do the job.

  6. “Ever administered a standardized test in a public school, Matt?”

    Yes, the MCAS.

    At no point did I doubt or criticize your CV. I’d say that it’s poor form to start your response by criticizing mine.

    I value your perspective here – criticism and analysis re: standardized testing is one of the things the education blogosphere does quite well. Though I lament that it leans heavily one way, that can’t really be helped because [in my opinion] it’s a fairly accurate representation of teacher/admin feelings on the issue.

    It is ok, though, for people to have varying – and still justified – opinions.

  7. My (sincere) apologies. All I know of your CV is what’s available at the top of this page–and that doesn’t mention your career in public schools. Why not? You must have taught in MA, K-12, if you have administered the MCAS.

    You also need to acknowledge that you were setting up a challenge in choosing bait-words like the “evils of testing” and “oddly enough.”

    It’s become kind of hip to blog about idiot teachers and failing schools, I know. You attract a certain kind of commenter, you fling around a few facile “conclusions” about the desperate state of public education and everyone is satisfied that they “know” the truth about schooling in America. But it’s far more complex than that.

    You brought me to this blog with your original blind snark about my post on John Adams and democracy in education. I always appreciate an opportunity for dialogue, Matt. But not at the level of I said/you said. I mentioned my lengthy experience in administering (not-evil) tests because it’s relevant: I’ve had a long time to think about the value of standardized testing.

  8. “Why not?”

    I don’t have 25 years of standardized testing experience, I’m not a certified teacher in any of the 50 states, and I don’t consider any of my education-related experience terribly relevant most of the time. This post, especially its comments, explains some of my thoughts on this issue:

    http://www.matthewktabor.com/2007/08/27/another-quick-note-on-blog-criticism-non-traditionals-in-the-education-debate/

    But that’s not the issue at hand, so I’ll snap back to this thread.

    I don’t consider Carl Chew’s actions to be worthy of comparison or reference to John Adams. Though the risk-taking angle is appropriate, I don’t think that all risks are created equal. I could have worded my original post differently to express that better, but at the time I didn’t see the need.

    I didn’t set up a challenge at all. “Testing is evil”-style rhetoric appears in no less than 20 posts a day in my RSS reader. If anything, I co-opted one of the more common arguments against NCLB [that it is evil] and used it on the other side.

    There was also nothing snarky about the link. As I said, I don’t consider the comparison valid, but others do – just as you referenced in your post about the breadth of opinion on TLN.

    If it was bait, it was poor bait. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say it was. One can’t forget that the bait hides the hook. Fish don’t know any better, but people do.

    And, for what it’s worth, I don’t attract a certain kind of commenter, and I feel badly for those who do comment on this blog and have been labeled rabble-rousers. If you take a look at the link above, you’ll see that the main commenter is a teacher and blogger who defends daily the dignity of public education. We had what I consider a valuable back-and-forth on the issue.

    He’s not alone. One thing I’m proud of regarding my website is the intellectual diversity that pops up in the comments. Whether it’s frequent commenter Stephen Downes, who, though committed to the same principles of debate as I am, is just about the polar opposite of me on every important issue, or an educator who sees the discussion and decides to engage in a lengthy conversation they would otherwise just read, I’m pleased to hear from everyone.

    It’s worth noting that your decision to comment is a demonstration of exactly this – the intellectual diversity of those who choose to comment on my posts.

    I also have never thought there was a quick fix for a “desperate” education system. As everyone does, I believe that a few specific steps could benefit us tremendously – or are at least worth trying. I certainly wouldn’t call any of them “facile,” and doing so discounts/marginalizes them in an unjustified way.

    I agree that I said/you said isn’t the best way to go about things. Neither is baseless personal criticism and the oversimplification of one’s views as automatically a lesser, ignorant, uninformed option.

  9. Glad to know that you’re pleased to hear from everyone. I’m genuinely pleased that you’ve taken the time to respond. And I agree with your idea that you don’t have to be an educator to make some very thoughtful, useful observations about schools. I said so in *my* inaugural blog post:

    http://tinyurl.com/58c6yg

    >>”I don’t consider Carl Chew’s actions to be worthy of comparison or reference to John Adams.”

    Me, either–at least, not worth comparing. What I was rejoicing about was a range of opinions from teachers which did not include the default “victim” stance where teachers whine about being forced to give tests. Many of the teachers I was quoting were worried that Chew would detract from serious discourse about the role of good assessment in moving education forward–something they know well, care deeply about and want to be part of.

    The reference to John Adams was about the personal sacrifices and intellectual conflict experienced by the founding fathers in establishing democracy, which ultimately made public education possible. I do believe we owe allegiance to that hard-won concept of equity of opportunity. And I think we can do a much better job of fixing what was once our great national distinction and treasure: a free, high-quality public education.

    >> “And, for what it’s worth, I don’t attract a certain kind of commenter, and I feel badly for those who do comment on this blog and have been labeled rabble-rousers.”

    Wasn’t referring to you, your blog, or your commenters, actually–because I never read it until a couple days ago. There are, however, dozens of new blogs dedicated to the proposition that public schools are a joke. As I said, it’s hip and in vogue to take a unilaterally negative view of the increasingly beleaguered public schools and teachers, and some bloggers think you get bonus points for clever irony and sarcasm.

    Some of the very best blogs out there–Joanne Jacobs’ for example, which is as smart and even-handed as they come–are dominated by very loud, angry commenters. If your blog is a haven for measured debate on real issues, congratulations. That’s a major accomplishment.

    >> “I also have never thought there was a quick fix for a “desperate” education system. As everyone does, I believe that a few specific steps could benefit us tremendously – or are at least worth trying. I certainly wouldn’t call any of them “facile,” and doing so discounts/marginalizes them in an unjustified way.

    On this, we are in sync, although I’m guessing that our “few specific steps” might be different. My personal belief is that radically improving the teaching force (as has been done in high-achieving nations) would get us the biggest uptick. The facile solutions I was referring to are in the nature of believing scripted curriculums will leverage permanent intellectual curiosity and growth, or engaging in pointless wars with teacher unions.

    >> “Neither is baseless personal criticism and the oversimplification of one’s views as automatically a lesser, ignorant, uninformed option.”

    Not sure what you mean here, Matt. My asking if you’d ever administered a standardized test? I certainly do not believe you are “lesser” or ignorant (laughing). But I do have some accumulated wisdom from the field, re: what’s happening to real schools and real kids. Testing, per se, is not a bad thing. But the way it’s happening in a lot of schools approaches lunacy, lately.

  10. Nancy,

    I don’t believe half of the backpedaling in your last comment, but I’m pleased to have had the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

top