Regular Joe

Unfiltered (and totally caffeinated)

Obama like Bush on Education

“Obama is, in effect, giving George W. Bush a third term in education” (edweek: “Obama Echoes Bush on Education Ideas”)–here’s a link to a copied, published version on gdocs.

So says Diane Ravich, a writer for edweek.org.  She says this because Obama is carrying the torch for teacher quality, standardized assessment and charter schools.  Where he differs, according to the document, is private school vouchers.

The real place where he differs is funding.  Unfunded mandates are now getting some of the support that they’ve needed for years.

In the past, I would have classified myself as anti-standarized assessments (the term widely popularized by NCLB).  I’ve done a 180 though, not because I now like them, but because I understand how successful assessments for learning (not to measure learning) can help students and teachers both take the reigns  to promote better learning.

The difference between these types of assessment (for learning and to gauge learning) is how they are implemented in a classroom.  A pretest and post pretest review are assessments for learning.  The final test gauges learning.  More of the former better prepares the student for the final assessment (but only when the teacher and student take an active role in deciphering the strengths and weaknesses of a student and work to reward the strengths and fix the weaknesses).  Some might call it adaptive assessment or ongoing assessment, but really it’s a mind set.

I think this goes right along with merit-based pay as well.  Good and great teachers will be experts at this type of assessment, paving the way for student success throughout daily lessons.  Actively engaging students in their own learning.

Personally I’m excited by Obama’s education agenda so far, especially if he chooses to learn from the local challenges and triumphs that Michelle Rhee is seeing in DC’s schools.

Time will tell.

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Filed under: Education

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