UPDATE: See Additional Reading below
Stephen Round, the teacher in the video, is thoroughly unhappy with the emphasis on testing. His video raises a couple of questions.
- How true is the video?
- Is Round right?
Since I am unfamiliar with the Rhode Island public school system, I am not exactly sure how to answer either question. So I checked some news reports.
Only the first link is of much help. So I did a little more research.
Rhode Island is in the process of implementing the Common Core State Standards. What is that? Here is a link I found here. Check out Common Core State Standards Initiative. Here is some of what that web site has on its FAQs page.
Is this testing a good idea? Since it does not address the problem, I do not think so. What is missing from our education system is choice and accountability. Since parents (particularly relatively poor parents) do not have a good alternative to the public school system, they cannot hold the public school system accountable for providing a good product.
What educational standards do is provide a basis for test design. That is, test makers write their test questions based upon the standards. Therefore, if we have good standards, we have good tests, but good standards do not teach students. Good teachers do that.
While it is nice to have educational standards, there is really no need for national standards. What we need is competition. In practice, national education standards would just be used to help eliminate competition between state education systems.
The PWC Education Reform Blog has been tracking this issue for some time. Here are several relatively recent posts.
- Disavowing the Common Core Standards
- Cow Paddies Masquerading as the National / Federal Common Core Standards
- National Sexuality Standards for K -12 for all Public Schools
I guess the best news is that Virginia has not yet adopted the Common Core Standards. The bad news is that most states have done so. Because we have become so easy to bribe with “other people’s money,” the politicians we elect to run our state governments are just too easy to bribe (here and here).