0281_School Reformers fail again _ 12-15-17 National Review article: When school-discipline “reform” makes schools less safe— Common Cores causes decline

Donna Jack
December 18, 2017

It is an old, old story.  Education reformers in Education promise the moon, and keep hampering teachers from doing their jobs of educating our children — as the education in our country continues to lag further behind other countries in the world.

The same is true when these same education reformers insist on changing things to make schools safer.  They make schools more unsafe.

For the entire article click here.

Donna Garner sent out the following article:

From: Donna Garner [mailto:wgarner1@hot.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2017 8:22 AM
Subject: WHEN SCHOOL-DISCIPLINE “REFORM” MAKES SCHOOLS LESS SAFE — COMMON CORE CAUSES DECLINE — BY HESS & EDEN — NATIONAL REVIEW — 12.15.17

12.15.17  — National Review

 Excerpts from this article:

 National Review   When School-Discipline ‘Reform’ Makes Schools Less Safe
by Frederick M. Hess & Max C. Eden December 15, 2017 4:00 AM 

 http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454675/progressive-school-discipline-reform-hurting-students-parents

 Progressive education experts don’t seem to care that the policies they advocate are hurting the students who need the most help... Such tales are painfully familiar to those who track the world of school reform. There’s a rhythm to it: Progressive reformers have an idea that they think should work; the idea doesn’t work; reformers claim to see hints of promise and explain that the problem is one merely of “implementation”. . . and then the cycle repeats. Meanwhile, teachers and parents are left to pick up the pieces… 

 Consider the Common Core. Reformers were alarmed that state standards weren’t high enough. So they cheered as the Obama administration bribed and coerced states to adopt new, “higher” standards. Parents complained, but reformers dismissed their assorted complaints as a combination of know-nothingism and fringe kookery. When a report found that 85 percent of K–8 teachers thought the Common Core harmed parents’ ability to help their kids with math because they could no longer understand the assignments, reformers yawned. When the dust settled, nationwide achievement had broadly declined for the first time in years, but reformers saw hints of promise— and explained that the problems were simply a matter of implementation. After all, they said, high standards are important.

 Consider teacher evaluation. Reformers were alarmed that old systems rated 99 percent of teachers as effective. So the Obama Department of Education bribed and coerced states to adopt new evaluation frameworks tied to tests teachers had never seen. Teachers complained, but reformers dismissed their concerns as know-nothingism and self-interested carping. When the dust settled, teachers had had to dance through new, time-consuming, bureaucratic paper chases—and 98 percent of them were still rated effective. Reformers acknowledged the results were disappointing, but explained the problems were nothing that couldn’t be cured by better implementation.  After all, they said, teacher evaluation is important…

 Don’t expect progressive reformers to heed these warnings. Indeed, they seem more inclined to attack those who raise concerns than to step back from misguided policies. It’s far easier to take to Twitter and insinuate that those who are concerned about the practical consequences of lax discipline policies “sound kinda racist.” After all, they say, reducing suspensions is important. 

 The thing about schooling is that it is a profoundly human enterprise, which means it is inextricably contextual.  Local realities matter, a lot. This means that whether and how reforms work is less a matter of how they look on a whiteboard or in a PowerPoint than of how they are put into practice by teachers, administrators, and parents. A bold scheme often sounds nice in theory, but bungled reforms can easily prove worse than no reform at all. This lesson should be painfully self-evident after so many humbling experiences, even if it continues to elude so many of the nation’s most self-assured education reformers. 

 — Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Max C. Eden is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. 

 [forwarded by Donna Garner — Wgarner1@hot.rr.com]

 

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