Who's teaching L.A.'s kids?

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-teachers-value-20100815,0,258862,full.story


Data mining student/teacher data reveals the good and bad teachers and this is something that has not been done by most schools. Another example of schools ignoring the obvious and doing a great disservices to our kids. It is long, but read the entire article.



On visits to the classrooms of more than 50 elementary school teachers
in Los Angeles, Times reporters found that the most effective
instructors differed widely in style and personality. Perhaps not
surprisingly, they shared a tendency to be strict, maintain high
standards and encourage critical thinking.

...

Highly effective teachers routinely propel students from below grade level to advanced in a single year. There is a substantial gap at year's end between students whose teachers were in the top 10% in effectiveness and the bottom 10%. The fortunate students ranked 17 percentile points higher in English and 25 points higher in math.

...
Many of the factors commonly assumed to be important to teachers'
effectiveness were not. Although teachers are paid more for experience,
education and training, none of this had much bearing on whether they
improved their students' performance.
 

Dr. Zaus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2008
11,770
347
126
Freekanomics was a good book;
Part of why I'm becoming a social scientist.

From that book: it is important to look at the 'best' teachers children after they go onto another classroom, this way we can suss-out the cheaters.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
Many of the factors commonly assumed to be important to teachers'
effectiveness were not. Although teachers are paid more for experience,
education and training, none of this had much bearing on whether they
improved their students' performance.
Haha only teachers and their union reps think that!
 

Double Trouble

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,272
103
106
Nationally, the vast majority who seek tenure get it after a few years on the job, practically ensuring a position for life. After that, pay and job protections depend mostly on seniority, not performance.

This, in a nutshell, is probably the largest single problem with the public education system. This whole "position for life" crap has to go. I don't know about you guys, but if my performance sucks year after year, I'm going to get canned. You should get rewarded for good performance, nothing else matters. I don't care if you've been teaching for 1 year or 50, if you have a phd or bachelors etc, all those things are irrelevant. The question is, how are your students doing.

Of course, scores on a standardized test are not the end-all be-all, they are a single measure of performance, but they are important because they are objective. Classroom observation and that kind of stuff is largely subjective, so it measures more what the observer thinks about a teaching style than if the teacher is effective or not.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
This, in a nutshell, is probably the largest single problem with the public education system. This whole "position for life" crap has to go. I don't know about you guys, but if my performance sucks year after year, I'm going to get canned. You should get rewarded for good performance, nothing else matters. I don't care if you've been teaching for 1 year or 50, if you have a phd or bachelors etc, all those things are irrelevant. The question is, how are your students doing.

Of course, scores on a standardized test are not the end-all be-all, they are a single measure of performance, but they are important because they are objective. Classroom observation and that kind of stuff is largely subjective, so it measures more what the observer thinks about a teaching style than if the teacher is effective or not.
This is true but the unions and many teachers continually promote the idea that their performance cannot be properly measured. Teaching has been conducted for thousands of years and yet none of them are smart enough to figure out how to measure themselves against one another. Fvcking amazing.
 

charrison

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
17,033
1
81
Why is it such a problem now compared to generations past?

Maybe because we are dumping more and more money at a problem and not getting any better results?

Maybe it is the rampant grade inflation?

maybe it is because there are obvious broken schools that nothing is being done about?

There are problems in education that need to be fixed.
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
0
Maybe because we are dumping more and more money at a problem and not getting any better results?

Maybe it is the rampant grade inflation?

maybe it is because there are obvious broken schools that nothing is being done about?

There are problems in education that need to be fixed.
Did these problems exist in the past and are now only becoming evident?
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
0
Depends upon what you calll the past. Education has never been perfect but the flaws are pretty obvious at this point.
I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is between now and a generation ago when it comes to our educational system. It seems like a lot of people are blaming the Educators. Has the quality of our teachers gone down? Is it a case of those who would have been good at that field opting for a more lucrative and less stressful occupation than the educational field?
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is between now and a generation ago when it comes to our educational system. It seems like a lot of people are blaming the Educators. Has the quality of our teachers gone down? Is it a case of those who would have been good at that field opting for a more lucrative and less stressful occupation than the educational field?

Much has changed so to try to single one thing out is impossible. However, the one thing we can change is how the teachers that are in front of the kids behave and teach. We can't change society back, we can't force people out of the private sector and into teaching - we can only seek to address the situation as it is.
In this case, we have what looks to be subpar performance in the teaching industry. 2 options available and neither will fully work on their own but it needs to start somewhere. 1. address subpar teaching. 2. address subpar students(and their lack? of parental involvement)
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,441
85
91
This, in a nutshell, is probably the largest single problem with the public education system. This whole "position for life" crap has to go. I don't know about you guys, but if my performance sucks year after year, I'm going to get canned. You should get rewarded for good performance, nothing else matters. I don't care if you've been teaching for 1 year or 50, if you have a phd or bachelors etc, all those things are irrelevant. The question is, how are your students doing.

Of course, scores on a standardized test are not the end-all be-all, they are a single measure of performance, but they are important because they are objective. Classroom observation and that kind of stuff is largely subjective, so it measures more what the observer thinks about a teaching style than if the teacher is effective or not.

The problem is that not all students are created equal. It only takes one bad student and a spineless administration to drag down a whole class. In a perfect world a teacher with 24 well behaving, disciplined children... even a not so good teacher can get results.

Also putting in too much weight towards standardized testing forces the teachers to teach to the test... critical thinking crap goes out the window. If my bonus/rehire decision is based on test score... by god all my kids will get 90+% on the tests.

It goes back to parental involvement. If a parent is familiar with where there child needs to be throughout the school year they can follow progress. Most parents don't give a shit.. the drop their kids off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and that is the extent of involvement.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
The problem is that not all students are created equal. It only takes one bad student and a spineless administration to drag down a whole class. In a perfect world a teacher with 24 well behaving, disciplined children... even a not so good teacher can get results.

Also putting in too much weight towards standardized testing forces the teachers to teach to the test... critical thinking crap goes out the window. If my bonus/rehire decision is based on test score... by god all my kids will get 90+% on the tests.

It goes back to parental involvement. If a parent is familiar with where there child needs to be throughout the school year they can follow progress. Most parents don't give a shit.. the drop their kids off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and that is the extent of involvement.

I'm always curious what people think SHOULD be done when they start whining about standardized tests.

IMO, if a district/state/whatever decides that a kid should know X by 3rd grade - how exactly do you know if they know X? "teaching the test" - well no shit - if they are supposed to know the material then by god - teach the material that's going to be on the test! - It's what they are supposed to know according to some bureaucrat. Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp?
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,365
3,443
126
Why is it such a problem now compared to generations past?

Parenting

Yes there are issues with the education system, the administrator's union, the janitorial/bus driver/luch person union, the teacher's union but this is by far the worst yet it gets almost no attention

The only thing I can think of is people spout off about things they don't know. Teachers are, I guess, an easy target. People don't want to hear they are being bad parents

I wouldn't think it would be suprising that if a parent isn't involved in their child's education/development their child's education and development will suffer. Most of my wife's trouble students have parents who aren't involved with their child's development (She has been told to not bother them\education is not important when she calls about issues)

She has worked at two schools. One was one of the best schools in the area - the other the worst. The biggest difference? Not funding. Both had the same unions. Both use standardized tests. It was parental involvement. The better school's aprents were involved to an almost annoying extent. The poorly performing school had little to no parental involvement.

She also spends way more time with classroom discipline. The kids with little to no parental involvement are more disruptive and confrontational because their parents haven't bother instilling basic values in them. Heaven forbit little Johny get in trouble for anything. He is such an angel he gets everything he wants. This whole trying to give him a detention thing is just so hard on his emotions. I better buy him a new TV/PS3/cellphone to make up for it

I honestly do not know how she deals with it
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
20,365
3,443
126
I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is between now and a generation ago when it comes to our educational system. It seems like a lot of people are blaming the Educators. Has the quality of our teachers gone down? Is it a case of those who would have been good at that field opting for a more lucrative and less stressful occupation than the educational field?

The Union's are a bit of an issue. In this economy with teacher's being let go it is ALWAYS the ones with less seniority. This makes it very difficult to hold a job as a teacher and is discouraging new candidates from becoming teachers. Doesn't matter how good you are if you have less seniority say good bye to your job.

Keep in mind this holds for everyone at the school as they are completely unionized. Are you a principle who had an affair with the assistant principle, lied for her, covered when she wasn't doing her job, wrote a stellar review that got her contract renewed when parents, school employees hated her (She was given the name of a student - picked the wrong one (similar spellings) - suspended an honor roll student for something they didn't do and then refused to overturn the suspension when the error was pointed out)?

Don't worry we'll just move both of you to a different school. No firings or accountability to see here!

Unfortunately by the same token the Teacher's Union has saved several jobs from attempted firings over fake issues. The Assistant principle mentioned above 'Misplaced' money from the school store and almost got a teacher fired for her mistake. (Not that she was fired for the same issue) Only the intervention of the teachers union saved her job. There was another frivolious law suit that the district would have just let the teacher go if the union hadn't stood up for an outstanding teacher that the students loved
 
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MJinZ

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 2009
8,192
0
0
The problem is that not all students are created equal. It only takes one bad student and a spineless administration to drag down a whole class. In a perfect world a teacher with 24 well behaving, disciplined children... even a not so good teacher can get results.

Also putting in too much weight towards standardized testing forces the teachers to teach to the test... critical thinking crap goes out the window. If my bonus/rehire decision is based on test score... by god all my kids will get 90+% on the tests.

It goes back to parental involvement. If a parent is familiar with where there child needs to be throughout the school year they can follow progress. Most parents don't give a shit.. the drop their kids off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon and that is the extent of involvement.

Damn I dunno, when I took my AP Physics, AP Calc etc, I don't think you can do very well without critical thinking. Or whatever the fuck that actually means.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is between now and a generation ago when it comes to our educational system. It seems like a lot of people are blaming the Educators. Has the quality of our teachers gone down? Is it a case of those who would have been good at that field opting for a more lucrative and less stressful occupation than the educational field?
Government spending as a percentage of GDP is higher. The debt and deficit need a more honest look.
She has worked at two schools. One was one of the best schools in the area - the other the worst. The biggest difference? Not funding. Both had the same unions. Both use standardized tests. It was parental involvement. The better school's aprents were involved to an almost annoying extent. The poorly performing school had little to no parental involvement.
I'm sure this is the case. When I went to school my peers were from wealthier families and discipline was rarely ever an issue. Detentions were few and far between. Probably in my entire school career I was aware of just a couple of suspensions and these were shocking.
 

nonlnear

Platinum Member
Jan 31, 2008
2,497
0
76
I'm always curious what people think SHOULD be done when they start whining about standardized tests.

IMO, if a district/state/whatever decides that a kid should know X by 3rd grade - how exactly do you know if they know X? "teaching the test" - well no shit - if they are supposed to know the material then by god - teach the material that's going to be on the test! - It's what they are supposed to know according to some bureaucrat. Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp?

Standardized tests aren't a problem per se. Relying exclusively on standardized tests designed by professional educators for the purposes of assessing goals set by professional educators is the problem.

Taking tests and teaching students to be ready for tests develops one skill: taking tests. That is a skill of limited (but occasionally very important) use. Some others may be developed along the way, but the quality of this (secondary) effect varies greatly as the quality of the schools does. The problem is that tests scores on meaningless metrics like the SAT are taken as highly significant performance benchmarks for schools (and in some cases individual teachers). This isn't an evil conspiracy, but simply a lack of better actionable data, coupled with a bureaucratic love for (ever more) numbers, as well as a professional culture that is deeply repulsed by the prospect of better measures of teacher quality - whatever that means. The more policy is centralized, the greater the institutional need for more data becomes. The quantity of data is often more important to them than the accuracy, reliability, or underlying meaning of the data. Congress needs to pretend that they are governing "effectively", so they create benchmarks to measure performance (or rather to pretend they are). Well we can't have benchmarks without data, so we use whatever is available. The more quantitative it is, the better. Never mind if it really means anything. Add some partisan hackery and the need to pretend they are having something resembling "competition" and you get patently destructive programs like Race To The Top, and others. Just contemplate the metaphor that the DC marketing goons thought would put the best face on one of the crown jewels of education policy: a "race" to the "top". It's utterly insane.

Underlying all of this is the unfounded expectation that centralized, and bureaucratized policy is an effective tool for achieving the goals of society. What do you do when you are a federal department faced with justifying your existence? Produce lots and lots of numbers, and make sure that they are ever so slightly correlated with something the public wants. Correlated enough that 60-ish percent of the population can't competently argue with you, but uncorrelated enough that you can always demonstrate "progress" towards imagined goals without ever getting too close to them to raise expectations.

Well I managed to make it this far without diverting into my standard education rant or laying out any potential solutions, both of which would have made it a good deal longer. That probably makes this a good place to cut it off...
 
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CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Standardized tests aren't a problem per se. Relying exclusively on standardized tests designed by professional educators for the purposes of assessing goals set by professional educators is the problem.

Taking tests and teaching students to be ready for tests develops one skill: taking tests. That is a skill of limited (but occasionally very important) use. Some others may be developed along the way, but the quality of this (secondary) effect varies greatly as the quality of the schools does. The problem is that tests scores on meaningless metrics like the SAT are taken as highly significant performance benchmarks for schools (and in some cases individual teachers). This isn't an evil conspiracy, but simply a lack of better actionable data, coupled with a bureaucratic love for (ever more) numbers, as well as a professional culture that is deeply repulsed by the prospect of better measures of teacher quality - whatever that means. The more policy is centralized, the greater the institutional need for more data becomes. The quantity of data is often more important to them than the accuracy, reliability, or underlying meaning of the data. Congress needs to pretend that they are governing "effectively", so they create benchmarks to measure performance (or rather to pretend they are). Well we can't have benchmarks without data, so we use whatever is available. The more quantitative it is, the better. Never mind if it really means anything. Add some partisan hackery and the need to pretend they are having something resembling "competition" and you get patently destructive programs like Race To The Top, and others. Just contemplate the metaphor that the DC marketing goons thought would put the best face on one of the crown jewels of education policy: a "race" to the "top". It's utterly insane.

Underlying all of this is the unfounded expectation that centralized, and bureaucratized policy is an effective tool for achieving the goals of society. What do you do when you are a federal department faced with justifying your existence? Produce lots and lots of numbers, and make sure that they are ever so slightly correlated with something the public wants. Correlated enough that 60-ish percent of the population can't competently argue with you, but uncorrelated enough that you can always demonstrate "progress" towards imagined goals without ever getting too close to them to raise expectations.

Well I managed to make it this far without diverting into my standard education rant or laying out any potential solutions, both of which would have made it a good deal longer. That probably makes this a good place to cut it off...
1st paragraph = agree to a point. I dislike our current gov't education system.. no wait, I despise it. It's robotic and too "standard". However, regardless of the system, we need some way to make sure each child is progressing at a minimal level.

? teaching the test = teaching how to take a test? How exactly do you get a student who couldn't learn the class material to suddenly grasp the concept of test taking? But even beyond that - test taking skill are valuable regardless although they should never be the main focus(unless a kid is smart but just can't handle the "test" which is a specialized issue).

rest of 2nd paragraph = agree.

3rd = I agree. Education should be local and state - not the Feds.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
5
0
Taking tests and teaching students to be ready for tests develops one skill: taking tests.
This is an oft-repeated--and overly repeated--thing. For example, do you think you could teach me how to pass a generic test catered toward new physicians? Because if you could well heck I'd probably be pretty learned by the end of it. Or, find me somebody who got 1550 on the SAT and I'll show you somebody who not only is good at taking tests but also knows quite a damn lot for their age. "being good at taking tests" is only a deficit if the test is poorly constructed. Heck, what is a running race if not a test?
 

nonlnear

Platinum Member
Jan 31, 2008
2,497
0
76
1st paragraph = agree to a point. I dislike our current gov't education system.. no wait, I despise it. It's robotic and too "standard". However, regardless of the system, we need some way to make sure each child is progressing at a minimal level.
Throw all the synthetic measures you want at the system, but until we raise kids on government farms like Plato wanted, the only way we really have to make sure kids are learning is the parents.
? teaching the test = teaching how to take a test? How exactly do you get a student who couldn't learn the class material to suddenly grasp the concept of test taking? But even beyond that - test taking skill are valuable regardless although they should never be the main focus(unless a kid is smart but just can't handle the "test" which is a specialized issue).
My underlying question was why exactly do we believe that taking tests is an important enough skill that we predicate educational policy on its results? Tests are rare events, very few of them have significance other than the synthetic bureaucratic value assigned to them, and they only lose value throughout one's career, as experience becomes a greater determining factor in one's success. Some tests are valuable, it's true. That's why we should have high school students graduating with contractor's licenses, trade apprenticeships, LPN credentials, and stellar ASVAB scores. Those are tests that lead somewhere tangible, and there's no reason why they couldn't be given within a school setting. Teaching to those tests would actually accomplish something for the students, rather than for the bureaucrats. The SAT and state mandated tests lead to nothing in particular. The only reason they are valued by colleges is because colleges have the same institutional data addiction as K-12. That's a separate issue though.

3rd = I agree. Education should be local and state - not the Feds.
The thing is there is actually some value to be reaped by deep data mining on a large scale. I can contemplate some real value being produced by a hypothetical federal department of education, but the kind of quality metrics that would mean something useful are pretty much the opposite of what is currently done.
 

rudder

Lifer
Nov 9, 2000
19,441
85
91
I'm always curious what people think SHOULD be done when they start whining about standardized tests.

IMO, if a district/state/whatever decides that a kid should know X by 3rd grade - how exactly do you know if they know X? "teaching the test" - well no shit - if they are supposed to know the material then by god - teach the material that's going to be on the test! - It's what they are supposed to know according to some bureaucrat. Is it really that hard of a concept to grasp?

Obviously (to most people) when one says the term 'teach to the test,' it is assumed that this is a different teaching style as opposed to teaching a normal curriculum which should prepare a student for a standardized test. When people complain about 'teaching to take the test' it is referring to the practice of some teachers stressing rote skills and memorization in order to improve their students test scores. For instance, limiting the scope of a lesson to concentrate on just the skills necessary to score well on a particular subject. This is also referred to as item teaching versus the curriculum teaching which covers a full body of knowledge and skills learned in order to deal with a test question. Critical thinking skills are developed with curriculum teaching.

There have been studies that have show that through drilling exercises, most students could correctly answer a multiple choice item written as 65 - 18 for example. However the rate drops significantly when students were asked an open ended question such as "subtract 18 from 65."

Granted, standardized tests are the cheapest, quickest ways to decide whether a child can answer a passing percentage of test questions.... do they really show what the child has learned or that the child is capable of advanced lessons?

Since you have a grasp on the situation, how do you think that if tenure or bonuses were tied to standardized testing... do you think public school system children would fair better or worse?

It is not an easy problem to solve. However, by having an education department look at a test score and determine whether a school is successful or not is wrong. Especially when taken to the Federal level with programs like NCLB. Better training for principals would be a start. The closer to the student that a skills determination could be made the better. Likely this will never happen. It is too easy and cheap to load test papers into a scantron.

There you go... in a nutshell.
 

nonlnear

Platinum Member
Jan 31, 2008
2,497
0
76
This is an oft-repeated--and overly repeated--thing. For example, do you think you could teach me how to pass a generic test catered toward new physicians? Because if you could well heck I'd probably be pretty learned by the end of it. Or, find me somebody who got 1550 on the SAT and I'll show you somebody who not only is good at taking tests but also knows quite a damn lot for their age. "being good at taking tests" is only a deficit if the test is poorly constructed. Heck, what is a running race if not a test?
You snipped out the context. I wasn't arguing against standardized tests at all. I was arguing against tests designed by education bureaucrats for education bureaucrats, and subsequently overvaluing that data. Some tests are important. We should teach to those tests (as one part of the broader education goals). We should stop creating tests for the sole benefit of bureaucrats that don't lead to tangible benefits for the students.
 
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drebo

Diamond Member
Feb 24, 2006
7,035
1
81
I'm just trying to figure out what the difference is between now and a generation ago when it comes to our educational system. It seems like a lot of people are blaming the Educators. Has the quality of our teachers gone down? Is it a case of those who would have been good at that field opting for a more lucrative and less stressful occupation than the educational field?

There are three, big relevant differences between then and now:

1) Teachers have tenure now. What this means is that they cannot be fired for lack of performance. Say what you want, but there ARE a LOT of teachers who are teaching well past the point where they should have retired. Teaching is a labor of love, and there are MANY teachers at all levels (K through College) that have lost that love and should no longer be teaching.

2) Teachers are no longer allowed to discipline kids. I'm not just talking about corporal punishment. I'm talking about being able to hold a kid back. It's no longer the educator's decision as to whether or not the kid is capable of advancing to the next grade: it's the parents' decision. No parent will ever agree that their kid is slow or has behavioral problems that could keep them from excelling at school. This power needs to be moved back to the hands of the educators.

Finally, 3) The currently popular idea that all kids are equal. Someone said above that all it takes is one kid to drag a whole class down...this is absolutely true. Classes should be populated by kids of similar intelligence. The "bleedover" effect (where a smart kid working with a slow kid will make the slow kid better) does not work. The slow kid just feels stupid and the smart kid does all the work because he doesn't want to wait for the slow kid. When I went through grade school, we had the GATE program...we took a test and if we passed it, we were moved in to a classroom with other kids who passed it and we were taught a year ahead of our level. This lead to me taking Algebra in 7th grade and AP Calculus as a sophomore in high school. I would have been onery as hell if I'd been made to sit through Algebra as a Sophomore like the standard sophomore in my high school. Kids are not equal. To perpetuate that idea is to reduce everyone to sub-mediocrity.

We need to bring competition back into the schools, as well. Kids need to strive to do better, and the only way to foster that attitude is to give them a target: "best of the bunch" is a pretty good target.

Particularly in California, liberal ideas about schooling (NCLB included) have left the classrooms being run not by the teachers, but by bureaucrats who've never taught a day in their lives and by the students themselves. Teachers are mostly powerless: they can't decide how to teach, they can't decide what to teach, and they can't decide who to teach.

Charter schools are really big right now, because they break away from the rules, regulations, and policies designed by people who have never taught a day. And, guess what...they're a LOT more effective than the public schools. There's a real threat in telling the kid that if he doesn't behave, he won't be allowed to come back next year, and parents respond to that same threat. We need to get this back into the mainstream school system. We also need to allow teachers to actually teach.
 

CADsortaGUY

Lifer
Oct 19, 2001
25,162
1
76
www.ShawCAD.com
Throw all the synthetic measures you want at the system, but until we raise kids on government farms like Plato wanted, the only way we really have to make sure kids are learning is the parents.

My underlying question was why exactly do we believe that taking tests is an important enough skill that we predicate educational policy on its results? Tests are rare events, very few of them have significance other than the synthetic bureaucratic value assigned to them, and they only lose value throughout one's career, as experience becomes a greater determining factor in one's success. Some tests are valuable, it's true. That's why we should have high school students graduating with contractor's licenses, trade apprenticeships, LPN credentials, and stellar ASVAB scores. Those are tests that lead somewhere tangible, and there's no reason why they couldn't be given within a school setting. Teaching to those tests would actually accomplish something for the students, rather than for the bureaucrats. The SAT and state mandated tests lead to nothing in particular. The only reason they are valued by colleges is because colleges have the same institutional data addiction as K-12. That's a separate issue though.


The thing is there is actually some value to be reaped by deep data mining on a large scale. I can contemplate some real value being produced by a hypothetical federal department of education, but the kind of quality metrics that would mean something useful are pretty much the opposite of what is currently done.

I think that our views are quite similar in nature. Most people don't see beyond the existing "system" and are thus boxed in with "solutions".