[MKE - Indymedia] stocks and tests
pryz1 at earthlink.net
Thu May 26 18:26:09 PDT 2005
(Published in educationnews.org commentary May 26, 2005)
NCLB, Inc. tracking accountably just like stocks
By Daniel Pryzbyla
Stanford University graduate school of business press release headline March 8, 2003: School progress should be as easy to track as stocks, says U.S. Educational Technology Director Bailey.
Of course, that was 2003, and now John Bailey is gone; replaced by Susan Patrick. However, Patrick like Bailey before her was also selected by former Secretary of Education Dr. Roderick Paige before he abandoned his No Child Left Behind education act public education high-stakes testing and sanction bulldozing duties. Both came from state technology positions under Republican governors. Bailey served as director of education technology for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, and Patrick as legislative liaison for the Government Information Technology Agency for Arizona Gov. Jane Dee Hull.
Educators who really want to improve their schools should take a look at how Amazon.com and Wal-Mart do business, Theresa Johnson quoted Bailey, the featured speaker at the all-day conference, Business of Education. It was organized by students at Stanfords graduate school of business, and more than 300 students, educators, and entrepreneurs attended the March 8 program.
According to the former U.S. Ed tech director, most corporate executives wouldnt think of making a major decision without a careful analysis of market trends, sales figures, and customer satisfaction, reported Johnson. Next to their employees, data is the most important resource those companies have. Yet, when it comes to analyzing the test scores and other raw data they collect on students, many school administrators dont even no where to begin. Its one thing to have data, and another to know what to do with it, said Bailey. Often time what were seeing is there are lots of reports coming back to schools, but its not intuitive to teachers or parents or even superintendents what these numbers mean. In his hour-long presentation, Bailey noted that data-driven decision-making was supposed to be a cornerstone of President Bushs $12 billion NCLB program, but some states are doing a better job of using computerized data than others. Ideally, mom and dad should be able to track their childs academic progress online every day, as easily as they would monitor a stock portfolio.
Dont think the mere change of U.S. educational directors from Bailey to Ms. Patrick, now working for Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, has missed a corporate computer keystroke. Among her duties listed includes: Works with educators, state and local educational agencies and representatives of the private sector to facilitate effective use of technology in education. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is holding a forum and summer data conference in July this year at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC: Say it with Data. Expect the designated conference rooms to be packed like sardine cans with private education computer technology and testing companies. NCLB got game!
Software and Information Industry Association (SIAA) held its 2005 Ed Tech Industry Summit this month in Universal City, CA. There was no shortage of all the heavy hitters from many of the education technology companies foaming at the mouth for NCLB tax dollar subject and testing accountability. Many of the computer tech companies, including education technology, had more than one high-ranking representative: Apple Computer, Atomic Learning, ClassLink Technologies, Curriculum Advantage, Educational Systemics, Educational Testing Service (7 reps), Houghton Mifflin, Intel Corporation, Kaplan K-12 Learning Services, Learning.com, Pearson Education (12 reps), Riverdeep, Texas Instrument, The Greaves Group, McGraw-Hill Companies, and numerous others.
Soon after George W. Bush was elected president and officially took office in January 2001, U.S. Department of Education underlings spent a year roaming the country trying to calm the unknowns of NCLB, including high-stakes testing and sanctions. By this time, many of the ed tech players already in the public school districts (and newcomers) did have the inside track. In an Internet report A new accountability for hi-tech schools, shortly thereafter; Robin Raskin had disclosed some of the planning already taking place. At a recent roundtable hosted by Heller Educational Reports, U.S. Ed tech John Bailey (already appointed by Paige) stated there would be 3 major ways that the provisions of NCLB would impact high-tech. First, there will be pressure to integrate technology into the curriculum. Next, there will also be an increased commitment to professional development for teachers and administrators. And finally, there will be an increased commitment to funding longitudinal research to answer questions about how technology is best utilized in the classroom.
Obviously, the tech fishes were already swimming upstream. Later in her article, Raskin made reference to Gail Pierson, president of product development for Riverdeep, Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass. According to Pierson, Riverdeep learning management system is the underpinning of a content delivery, assessment and testing system designed to methodically teach, evaluate, and assess performance of students based on state approved educational standards. In laymans terms, said Raskin, this means that the system can give students lessons, test them, evaluate them and make recommendations on what to do next. According to Pierson, The (NCLB) is creating a sense of urgency in the marketplace. Its created a hope for a source of high level funding to help schools get their acts together. The downside reported Raskin, The nagging fear that children will be tested so often that school becomes one gigantic test preparation.
Leaving children behind: exam privatization threatens public schools, an article written September 22, 2004 by Ben Clarke for CorpWatch, parlayed Raskins nagging fear. Vanessa Verdin, an energetic 11-year old whose hobbies include soccer, knitting and research, feels that the tests ask the wrong questions and waste time we could be learning. Not a happy camper. They make kids in my class feel dumb. Using data from the American Association of Publishers, he said standardized tests nearly tripled from 1992 to 2003 increasing from $211 million to $592 million. Three corporate giants dominate both testing and textbooks: CTB-McGraw Hill, Harcourt (owned by Reed Elsevier) and Houghton Mifflin (owned by Vivendi), which together control about 80 percent of the market, Clarke said. The total market in textbooks and related educational materials is over $7 billion.
Tammy Johnson, director of Race and Public Policy at the Applied Research Center (ARC), said in the article the rash of testing is driven by a cynical knowledge that tests are cheap and real reform is not. In the short term, it is cheaper for the federal government to demand testing than it would be to demand holistic evaluations of a child and follow up providing services to meet those needs, she said. Instead of tackling what our education system should really be doing, we have a quick-fix, fast-food solution were reduced down to a test score.
Mollie Crittenden, a former bilingual teacher in San Francisco who recently lost her job in reorganization cut-backs, said that test anxiety can engulf an entire school, resulting in negative and aggressive behavior increasing on the playground and in the classroom, wrote Clarke. Crittenden maintained, testing can take up to two weeks out of regular instructional time, and the standardized tests yield an inaccurate assessment of student knowledge. She also said the impact of inappropriate tests can be harsh. Kids who cant understand the test will cry and say, Teacher, I just cant do it. She gave Clarke another heart-wrenching example of a boy who put his arms over his head, hunched his face into his desk and refused to interact with anyone. He just shut out the world.
With education technology, Bailey had proclaimed earlier, Ideally, mom and dad should be able to track their childs academic progress online every day, as easily as they would monitor a stock portfolio. Maybe he doesnt know too much about monitoring stock portfolios. In a business report about Riverdeep back in May 2001, it mentioned the ed tech company acquiring Teacher Universe, a leading provider of e-learning and classroom-based solutions for K-12 teacher professional development. In addition, Riverdeep and Knowledge Universe had entered into a preferred partner relationship, whereby Knowledge Universe and Riverdeep will actively co-promote each others products and solutions. It also reported that Riverdeep was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange as RVDP.
If you try to find it, good luck. Thats also part of the real marketplace. Maybe it, too, has since been bought by another company. By the way, did anyone find Antonios test scores? What? A computer hacker stole all the scores?
pryz1 at earthlink.net
Why Wait? Move to EarthLink.
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