consultants are sandburs

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Attending this morning's Abigale Whelan - Branden Petersen town hall meeting at Anoka City Hall.

Most of the concerns from the audience, and the responses were as might be expected.

I had the opportunity to ask if either of the two knew of how much public money gets burned funding standardized testing, who provides [i.e. sells] the tests, and who is lobbying for standardized testing. And whether either knew of any reliable cost-benefit analysis of same.

Neither knew of any sound data on cost alone, not to mention cost-benefit. The who is lobbying part of the multi-part question strangely fell through the cracks.

However I got the strong impression that Whelan might be more amenable to recognizing legitimacy in the range of questioning.

If you are going to "fix" education and foster the advancement of "effective" teachers, in advancing such an agenda, you had best start at square one. What is effective [not cheapest newbies necessarily] and what is not, and what objective data [if any] exists on a measuring stick?

I got the impression Whelan understands not putting the cart before the horse, despite her wanting efficient and effective education, which, by the fact of universal public education being the practice, becomes less a balancing of individual anecdotal stuff than looking at statistical conglomeration across the collective practice. In looking for any real answer the perspective has to consider education, scaled up to where it actually is in size; and do not get too sidetracked by McFadden - SJ - Cristo Rey miniscule example-touting where admission to and remaining in the program has been strongly influenced by dedication levels of parents.

Just as a test-tube measure against Ebola might save a life, the main question is, does it scale, and what are down-side potential consequences.

How do you read such indirect things as which of the two might prove more sagacious in addressing education issues? Certainly one town hall meeting, replete with subjectivity, is but a part of the process. For now, it's all I have to go on.

Bottom line - we've been sold standardized testing, but have we been sold a bill of goods? With money on the table for those selling standardized testing as a good thing, do not expect them to be the ones looking to see if there is any downside. Take their assurances with a grain of salt. Possibly a ten pound salt lick might be better than only one grain.

1 comment:

Wes Volkenant said...

Thanks for attending, Eric and asking thoughtful questions.

Good topic.