Monday, May 31, 2004

Here's an interesting article (You may need to register) from Edweek, from the beginning of the month, about high stakes testing in other English speaking nations. I haven't read the whole thing yet, so I'll comment more later.

One typically hypocritical political point, though in the opening paragraphs is that the educational system in England was supposedly very decentralized up until the 1980's. Then Maggie Thatcher's people came in and almost nationalized the business.

Now, I realize that England isn't America and conservative doesn't exactly translate, but didn't the Iron Lady mesh her politics to a great deal with "The Greatest President Ever"? Didn't "The Greatest President Ever" constantly preach local control and states' rights, while meanwhile growing the federal government at an exponential level? Doesn't W continue to nationalize education here in America with NCLB.

Why do conservatives hate local control and states' rights so much?

-hoagieboy

Sunday, May 30, 2004

By the way, Maki-girl, I like the updates you've made to the site design. Maybe someday, we'll even have a comment section.

-hoagieboy

Well, Makigirl. It's soooo good of you to join me here. A place can never have too many Canadians.

Unfortunately, I think I was too slow in getting to the article in Mclean's. It may have moved on by now. As a rule, though, I'm not a big fan of high stakes testing. There's too much that can go wrong when a child has to pass tests in order to move forward. On the other hand, I do believe in standards, and I do believe in holding students accountable to those standards in order to move on in grades (I'm aware that this is a very nuanced position). Further, I think that schools and districts should be held accountable by high stakes testing.

To me, a child should be evaluated on a whole portfolio of measures, some tests, some not. None of them individually should determine if a child is allowed to continue. In addition, every measure of the childs learning should also be teaching the child something (when was the last time that you learned anything from a multiple choice test?).

Canada may have improvements that they need to make to their school systems, but they shouldn't take the easy way out and follow us.

Anyway, there's been something since last weekend that's been bothering me, and I feel like the other sites I read haven't addressed it enough. John Kerry was supposed to forgoe his real acceptance of the Democratic Nomination until after the convention so that he could be on more equal money terms with W. All of the "liberal" commentators on TV said that it was a "too cute" move, and that he's making the election to be more about money. Screw that and them. We need Kerry to win and W to lose. I don't care about cute anymore. I care about winning. Unfortunately, Kerry decided to pull back and formally accept the nomination at the convention. Is this going to be the status of the coverage of the Kerry Presidency for the next 8 years? Sadly, I think it is, even from those supposedly on our side.

-hoagieboy.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

... and I am joining hoagieboy on his journey through the intersecting worlds of science,
education, and politics. I have never blogged before, either, but I'm here to keep
hoagieboy on his toes with my input. I am also almost a Ph.D. astrophysicist, but not as
almost as he is. But the most important thing to know is that I'm from Canada, bringing my
witty, nuanced view of the world.

This morning I was reading MacLean's magazine while I ate breakfast. MacLean's
is much like a Canadian Time or Newsweek, except serious and non-tabloidal.
This issue made me sit back and think how far apart the U.S. and Canada are growing. On
the cover of the magazine was a picture of two men who had just gotten married (yes, in three
of Canada's provinces, men can marry men and women can marry women) standing in front of
Niagara Falls. Nice. That was a non-sarcastic nice. I know, it's hard to tell from my typing.
Anyways, buried inside the magazine was an article pondering if Canada should institute high
stakes testing as the U.S. has done. Hopefully Canada won't get around to it until the U.S.
has realized what a big mistake it is.

Or is it ...? Hoagieboy might have something to say about that.

- makigirl