Hiya, folks! Hecksapoppin here–it’s warm and clear here on the High Plains Desert, so I have to pitch hay while the sun shines. Here are some ideas to keep you occupied while I’m out.
- Isis the Scientist writes about the “Mythical Sunshine and Unicorns of University-Based Child Care.” We see those little chain gangs of toddlers and preschoolers on campus–they must be somebody’s kids. Why not yours?
- The Mohegans have elected Lynn Malerba, a woman Sachem, for the first time since the eighteenth century. In my book, I argued that the Algonquian Indians had no tradition of female political leadership, and that the so-called “squaw Sachems” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were evidence of the stresses of colonialism on Indian peoples. (And of course, having women leaders became further evidence in English minds that Indian peoples didn’t deserve political sovereignty. Never mind Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Anne, of course.)
- It’s only March 6, but I think we already have our Mansplainer of the Month. Of course, it makes perfect sense that one 40 year-old 14-page article probably would have changed my intellectual life. How tragic for me that I missed this Rosetta Stone! All is lost! I’ve submitted my resignation letter to my department Chair already, and will go dark here at Historiann.com as of midnight Sunday.
- A former No Child Left Behind advocate changes her mind and decides that testing kids to death isn’t teh awesome: Diane Ravitch writes,
As I listened to the day’s discussion, it became clear that NCLB’s remedies were not working. Students were offered the choice to go to another school, and they weren’t accepting the offer. They were offered free tutoring, and 80 percent or more turned it down. Enough students signed up to generate large revenues for tutoring companies, but the quality of their services was seldom monitored. I recalled a scandal in New York City when investigators discovered that a tutoring company, created specifically to take advantage of NCLB largesse, was recruiting students by giving money to their principals and gifts to the children; several of the firm’s employees had criminal records.
Adult interests were well served by NCLB. The law generated huge revenues for tutoring and testing services, which became a sizable industry. Companies that offered tutoring, tests, and test prep materials were raking in billions of dollars annually from federal, state, and local governments, but the advantages to the nation’s students were not obvious.
. . . . . . . .
What I learned that day fundamentally changed my view of No Child Left Behind. When I realized that the remedies were not working, I started to doubt the entire approach to school reform that NCLB represented. I realized that incentives and sanctions were not the right levers to improve education; incentives and sanctions may be right for business organizations, where the bottom line — profit — is the highest priority, but they are not right for schools. I started to see the danger of the culture of testing that was spreading through every school, community, town, city, and state. I began to question ideas that I once embraced, such as choice and accountability, that were central to NCLB. As time went by, my doubts multiplied. I came to realize that the sanctions embedded in NCLB were, in fact, not only ineffective but certain to contribute to the privatization of large chunks of public education. I wonder whether the members of Congress intended this outcome. I doubt that they did.
Who ever would have predicted this, my friends? I know, I know: just as history is far too important to be left to the historians, so education is too vital to be left in the hands of well-trained teachers with small classes. Why do that, when instead we can create a federal boondoggle to enrich grant- and contract-seeking educrats and edupreneurs with no classroom experience whatsoever, and at the same time punish the teachers and principals with their damned unions by labeling their schools failures? (It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!)
Have a great day, friends. (And, I was just kidding about the resignation letter and going dark here–never fear, I’ll be back.) Now, let’s drift along with the tumbling tumbleweeds with the Sons of the Pioneers: