"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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Monday, April 16, 2012

Arne Duncan's Educational Dashboard Which Measures Test Scores and Has Nothing to do with Authentic Learning.

What's the difference between the student Longitudinal Data System linking the Department of Education data with the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services and Arne Duncan's newly announced "United States Education Dashboard"?

Not much.  From ed.gov:

The U.S. Department of Education today launched a new website that provides convenient and transparent access to key national and state education data, highlighting the progress being made across the country in every level of the education system and encouraging communities to engage in a conversation about their schools. The United States Education Dashboard, available at http://dashboard.ed.gov, presents important indicators of whether the country is making progress toward the President's goal – that, by 2020, the United States will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. 

"The Dashboard highlights both our successes and challenges while providing a new level of transparency that is absolutely essential to our efforts to accelerate student achievement," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We hope communities will use this information to determine where we need to focus on reforms and investments in education." 

The Dashboard contains a range of cradle-to-career data that furthers the Department's efforts to provide a more accessible and transparent view of the country's educational system. On a single webpage, those interested will be able to view indicators of the nation's performance in education, gauge their state's progress and see how their state is performing compared to others. The indicators in the Dashboard focus on some key outcomes: Are we preparing young children to enter school? Are students making sufficient progress to graduate from high school and college? Are they completing college in a timely fashion? Are we providing an excellent education to all students? 

This first version of the Dashboard contains a set of 16 indicators that range from participation in early childhood education through completion of postsecondary education, plus indicators on teachers and leaders, and equity for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students. The Dashboard also includes a section, "An Excellent Education for All," which provides data on whether subgroups are performing sufficiently. In addition to compiling key data previously reported, the Dashboard presents two new indicators.

The first shows the number of states that indicated in their 2010 State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) reports that they have school districts that evaluate their teachers or their principals based in part on student growth or student achievement.  (MEW note: this had to be signed onto when RTTT funding was applied for by the states).  The second new indicator shows how high-poverty school districts are funded compared to low-poverty districts in their state. 

The Dashboard allows users to quickly find information they need and view it in several different ways. It also allows users to download customized reports for further analyses. 

The Department is committed to continually updating the Dashboard's data and to enhancing the tools on the website. Indicators will be updated as new information becomes available, and users are encouraged to provide comments and feedback on the Dashboard so that usability and functionality can be enhanced in updates and subsequent versions. 

What is the bottom Line?  Your student is data mined based on standardized assessments measuring if he/she was taught to the test.  It won't measure real knowledge.  It will, however, determine if your child's teachers and administrators retain their jobs or are reassigned if they are "too effective".  If test scores are too high, look for the "highly effective" teachers reassigned to lower performing classrooms or schools.

Or to put it another way, your student is nothing more than an amoeba under a microscope in a socialistic experiment of "fairness"  and "educational equity" that has nothing to do with authentic learning.

Here's a blip from the website:

Reaching the President's goal will require comprehensive education reforms from cradle to career, beginning with children at birth, supporting them through high school graduation and postsecondary education, and helping them to succeed as lifelong learners who can adapt to the constant changes in the demands of the global economy. Our youngest children must be in early learning environments that prepare them for success in kindergarten. We must continue to close the achievement gaps and ensure that all K-12 students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career. Once students enroll in college, we must provide them with financial aid and other support to help them complete their degrees. 

Call me skeptical.  I don't believe comprehensive education reforms from the time children are born will make the difference if a child is successful.  Innate intelligence, personality, temperament, emotional development, parental involvement,  and student desire don't seriously factor into these reforms.  And of course, the US government that is currently $16 Trillion in debt can state on this site with sincerity, "we must provide them with financial aid and other support to help them complete their degrees".  With this nanny state mentality comes loss of privacy, individual freedoms and the death of the human spirit.  Being data mined leaves students, parents, teachers and administrators little less than cogs in a managed economy.

What planet is Arne Duncan from?  It's about time to beam him up and out of the Department of Education.


  1. "...the President's goal will require comprehensive education reforms from cradle to career, beginning with children at birth..."

    What a brave new world this 1984 is.

  2. We must look at all those who support this initiative including the non-profits and venture philanthropists.


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