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One Reply to “Money Matters”
We need to develop systems of cost benefit analysis. For instance, most districts just follow the conventional wisdom and follow instructional policies based on curriculum alignment, benchmark testing, curriculum facilitators, etc. I think you’ll find that most districts follow that approach because it is the conventional wisdom.
Those curriculum-driven approaches are probably pretty good, but I doubt you can find many examples of those practices being subjected to either a cost or a benefit analysis. For instance, have you ever heard of a district which estimated the total costs, including salaries, technologogy for frequent assessment, various professional development costs, etc.? Have you ever heard of a school system with the ability to compare the benefits of instructional reforms vs. other reforms? For instance, why don’t we compare the benefits of curriculum facilitators, that are conventionally used, versus drop out prevention specialists? The answer, of course, is that districts are not going to question the conventional wisdom.
The last issue of Ed Week explored the $700 million per year industry on “formative assessments” and why we have no idea whether the money is worth it. It also had an article about 21st century methods of teaching reading comprehension using digital games, high interest interactive programs, etc. Why don’t we compare the cost effectiveness of the normative approach to teaching reading, with frequent assessments, vs. the benefits of digital teaching techiques that don’t lend themselves to easy measurements, but which have a far greater potential for helping real reading comprehension?
Of course, we know the answer. NCLB places a premium on Cover Your Ass approaches.