Anthony Cody: What Marc Tucker Gets Wrong

This mania of testing to measure student growth while ranking and yanking teachers based on those scores and then closing schools to turn over to corporation owned Charters reminds of General Westmoreland’s White House supported VAM-like measures for winning the Vietnam War that was based on numbers too—enemy body counts.

The theory went like this: the more people U.S. troops killed, the happier Westmoreland and LBJ were and eventually Nixon—with his B-52 bombing of Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam where the U.S. dropped more bombs than we dropped during all of World War II in both major theaters, The more U.S. troops killed the closer we were to winning the war.

About a quarter to a half-million Vietnamese civilians died, and a half million children have been born with birth defects since the war ended thanks to the use of Agent Orange that our troops were also exposed to. And that isn’t counting the half million to 1.1 million deaths of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.

In the end, the U.S. lost the Vietnam War. I wonder how much suffering will be caused by NCLB, Race to the Top and the VAM driven Common Core agenda that is similar to the carpet bombing of Southeast Asia by Nixon, before the billionaires—for instance, Bill Gates—and Washington D.C. realize they lost this war too because using VAM like bombs wasn’t the way to improve public education to make it better than it already is.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Anthony Cody was not heartened by Marc Tucker’s vision of a new accountability system with fewer tests. In this post, he explains why. If ever there was a need for close reading, he believes, this is it.

Cody writes:

“Tucker’s plan is confusing. In a proposal in which accountability remains closely tied to a set of high stakes tests, Tucker cites the “Failure of Test-based Accountability,” and eloquently documents how this approach doomed NCLB.

“Tucker speaks about the professionalization of teaching, and points out how teaching has been ravaged by constant pressure to prepare for annual tests. But his proposal still seems wedded to several very questionable premises.

“First, while he blames policymakers for the situation, he seems to accept that the struggles faced by our schools are at least partly due to the inadequacy of America’s teachers. I know of no objective evidence that would support this indictment.

“Second…

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