Get The Gist

Deb Gist was just named one of Atlantic’s “Brave Thinkers.”

If you want the chance to work with her, there are several interesting openings at the Rhode Island Department of Education.

One Reply to “Get The Gist”

  1. So, how are things going two and a half years later with The Brave New Thunker?
    Central Falls High School near the top in Rhode Island?
    Central High, who gives a fuck about them. They were yesterday’s news years ago.

    Let’s hear from a parent:

    I have two daughters, five grades apart. Comparing their experiences is instructive. My town has a relatively high-performing school department. There have been several changes in our schools between my first and second daughter, and as far as I can see, they fall into two categories: budget cuts and NECAP prep. Before my younger daughter entered seventh grade, the school department did away with seventh-grade foreign language instruction in favor of a second period of reading — to address NECAP deficiencies. While in the eighth grade, part of her shop class was turned over to NECAP prep for math. In the ninth grade, she is not taking a year-long biology, chemistry, or physics class, but a year-long science survey class that hopes to touch on all the topics covered by the science NECAP. Have any of these changes actually improved her education?

    Remember, this is a relatively high-performing district, but RIDE rules demand improvement every single year, even for districts that are already doing fine. It is a truism of policy studies that a regulation that sounds good — demanding constant improvement from everyone — can have seriously counter-productive results, but the evidence is rarely as stark.

    Along with the NECAP adjustments, budget constraints have had the music program cut back in the elementary grades, the high school has reduced the number of AP classes, and there are fewer buses to accommodate after-school activities. And much more.

    So far as I can see, not a single one of the changes in my town’s schools over the past five years between my children has had anything at all to do with improving the quality of the education, and the changes to accommodate the NECAP test have been every bit as destructive of my daughter’s educational opportunities as the budget cuts.

    So, buckle up everyone. The destruction of public education wrought by misguided RIDE testing policies has only just begun. Some people apparently buy the argument that simply demanding results gets results. For those of us who think this a dubious strategy, there is no real reason – beyond the personal promise of Deborah Gist – to think that these policies will improve education in Rhode Island and quite a number of reasons to think it will get a lot worse before it gets better. But if you want to bring these matters to anyone’s attention? Talk to the hand — for no more than two minutes.

    Undoubtably, because this parent does not recognise the brilliance of the Brave New Thunker, he must be ignored.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.