Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Truth About NCLB

Recently I did an internet search for info on cranberry juice and urinary tract infections. After about ten minutes I had references to impeccable studies that reached statistically significant results. In the 'good old days' it would have taken me that long to walk from the entrance of the library to the card catalogue.

In fact, my search term included 'urinary traac infection' and Google asked me if I meant 'urinary tract infection'. Believe it, card catalogues don't work that way.

And this is the truth about NCLB- testing the ability to add and subtract or spell correctly has nothing to do with education. Those skills are what L. Francis Herreshoff once referred to as cement overshoes on a student of ballet.

Whatever the real reasons for NCLB may be- gentlemen, you may start your speculation-they do not include a real education, and whatever the results will be, they will not include a real education. Carried out in any significant degree, the real results are likely to resemble the education received by the "greatest generation', which left them a prey of demagogues, pathologically pedantic about the ability to add and subtract, and crippled by arthritis in hands that their teachers whacked with rulers.

That's no path to the future- it's not even a path to the present.

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