Lorin W. Anderson Is A Killjoy!

Why else would he do the NCLB version of saying there is no Santa Claus?

4 Replies to “Lorin W. Anderson Is A Killjoy!”

  1. Lorin Anderson said it well:

    “Moving from Panic to Productivity

    The analysis here should not be comforting to either teachers who blame accountability for their approach to teaching or policy makers who believe accountability will lead to better teaching.”

    Fortunately, I feel no need to comment on elementary school because I have little direct knowledge of it. I always wonder if NCLB has helped or hurt in the younger years. I have no doubt that NCLB has caused actual damage in the high poverty secondary schools with which I’m familar. NCLB hasn’t effected my style of teaching because I’m a veteran with plenty of teaching awards and plenty of educational and community learers who have seen me teach, and I’m willing to fight for my educational values (which are consistent or even identical with Anderson’s). But – in my experience – it has definitely socialized young teachers into the destructive patterns which Anderson described.

    Have I over-emphaized the negative? If so, I think I know where my bias comes from. We should always be trying to improve. I see no effort to invest in the positive approachs that Anderson describes. And when we Baby Boomers retire, I’m afraid we will have institutionalized some awful practices that were produced by the PANIC prompted by NCLB. and its not a ringing endorsement to say that billions of dollars haven’t made things objectively worse.

    Finally, in the pre-accountability days, there were still some industrial jobs for high school graduates who had been ill-served by schools. The family was cracking but it hadn’t succumbed to much of the damage inflicted by Reaganomics. Parental and school input is even more important in teaching kids to use the digital world constructively. “The 20th century is already over” and NCLB makes sense only as a bridge to the curriculum of the 1890s. We can’t afford to gamble that NCLB II or II or IV might get accountability right.

    And Anderson gives no evidence that NCLB-type accountability can be fixed. If NCLB is actually no worse than spending billions to dig holes and then fill them in, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

  2. “Teachers must stop hiding behind the specter of accountability and take responsibility for doing what’s best for their students.”

    Sounds like Bill Cosby lecturing black people. And it will be just about as effective.

    Andrew, I’m a little turned off by your gleefulness.

    I noticed that Anderson left recess out:

    Like John, I share a belief in the principles Anderson espouses. But also like John, I agree that high stakes testing has socialized young teachers into some destructive patterns. I cringe as I look back on some of the practices I was trained to adopt during my three years as a second grade teacher in a low-income public school: Open Court for an hour a day, a half-hour of test prep all year long (usually consisting of multiple choice practice on different skills), teaching writing specifically structured to lead to a passing score on the district test–but neglecting to teach students to develop a sense of voice, or audience, or anyting other than the basic format of an expository essay (not necessarily essential for a second grader, not to mention 2nd-6th).

    I don’t know much, from personal experience, about what’s changed since before the era of accountability. But I do know that it took me going across the country to attend a Master’s program in Ed for me to gain a sense of how to teach children the way that I’d like my own kids to be taught. There certainly isn’t an incentive for ed schools teach a holistic model, and teachers don’t one either.

  3. Did anyone even read the article? Evidence for the claim that the curriculum is unchanged comes from a 1984 book chapter based on God knows what, a Kappan article with ramshackle North Carolina data, and the schedules of THREE TEACHERS COLLECTED FROM THE INTERNET.

  4. It seems puzzling that the data used in this study is a comparison of 1984 to 1999. Most of the narrowing seems to have come since NCLB which was enacted post-1999. Manna (2006) and Kantor & Lowe (2006) provide much more up-to-date evidence to the contrary.

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