RE: RE: RE: DSM: Dismal according to their own measure...

Joseph Moore (
Mon, 4 Oct 1999 15:42:37 -0700

Sharon wrote:

> I am not in the least asserting that all children should be
> held to the lowest level in order to include everyone. I am
> asserting that when looking at public school test scores, one
> must remember that the population tested includes a considerable
> percentage of children who have much to overcome. The urban poor
> are often so shell shocked , for example, that they have little
> will to do anything, let alone attempt to learn skills that they
> cannot imagine having any use. I could go on at length, but
> will not - presuming that listreaders here can come up with their
> own examples.
The relevent question is: how would a poor kid who didn't feel motivated in
a 'regular' school do at a Sudbury school? Stories, anyone?

Sharon, in the real world, is that poor kid goining to get anything like
what he really needs at school? Even with the best of intentions, some
unfortunate teacher will have 20 to 40 kids per class to look after, will be
spending most of her effort just keeping order, and will have maybe 5
minutes per day to spend on any particular student. Double the number of
teachers, and they can spend 10 minutes per day per student. It's
fundamentally unworkable. (A John Gatto can work it, but he had to
essentially do away with school to get it to work.)


When I look at public school test scores, I see a fetid monument to the art of lying with statistics. The people who write the tests, grade the tests and use the results of the tests ARE ALL THE SAME PEOPLE. Funny, they wouldn't DREAM of letting a student make up his own test, grade it himself, and then decide that he's done with the subject. (Except at a Sudbury school)

This is why the writing test results I posted earlier said, 1) that less than 25% of the tested were 'proficient' but 2) that 85% showed 'partial matery'. #1 is to be used (and I already heard it used this way on the radio) to push for more funding for schools; #2 is to be used to mollify those who might want to take some other action - 'partial mastery' sounds a lot like 'pretty much OK'. (That's also why I felt a bit guilty after I posted that test - I mean, of course schools fail by their own measures! How else are they going to maintain the crisis environment they use so effectively to pitch for more funding?) They can move the difficulty of the test, how it is graded, and what they say about the results up or down as needed. And they always do.

Y'all gotta git them cattle movin', but don't want to spook 'em.

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