"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, April 22, 2011

What is Good for the Goose is Apparently Not Good for the Gander

Here's a modern fable explaining how education in this country works for students and taxpayers. Put it in terms of people in the "goose class" or the "gander class". Here is the meaning of "what is good for the goose is good for the gander":

(British, American & Australian old-fashioned) What's good for the goose (is good for the gander). (American & Australian old-fashioned) something that you say to suggest that if a particular type of behaviour is acceptable for one person, it should also be acceptable for another person .

Question regarding this administration's plans for teacher evaluations: whether to base teacher evaluations on students’ standardized test scores — and if so, to what extent. How do the schools serving the children of President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan handle this important school reform issue?

Retired teacher Bill Schecter decided to find out.

The issue of linking a teacher’s salary and pay to how well students do on a standardized test has come to dominate the national education debate.

With the Obama administration’s support, more states are passing laws to connect teacher pay and test scores, even though experts on assessment say it is a bad idea.

Knowing that the Obama administration’s policies support linking teacher pay with test scores, Schechter wondered what Sidwell Friends School, the private Quaker school in Washington where Obama’s two children are enrolled, does regarding teacher pay-for-performance.

Schechter wondered the same about the Arlington County public school system, where Duncan’s children attend school.

What did Mr. Schecter discover?

Mr. Duncan's school district: “Arlington school district teacher, March 31, 2011: ‘We do not tie teacher evaluations to scores in the Arlington public school system.’

President Obama's school for his daughters: “Sidwell Friends faculty member, April 1, 2011:

“ ‘We don’t tie teacher pay to test scores because we don’t believe them to be a reliable indicator of teacher effectiveness.’ ”

The cast of characters:
  • Goose = the average American taxpayer and/or citizen
  • Gander = the elite class not mandated by the same rules as the average American taxpayer/citizen
The moral of the story: The goose is cooked in America.

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