Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Just to follow up on a couple of earlier posts:

I mentioned here that I am the beneficiary of federal student loan programs, and so I have some concern for my interest rate...which looks like it may be going up soon.  The comments attendant on the later article, the one I cite second, worry me even more than does the event which occasioned them; the rancor and "I did it with no help; why can't you?"* attitude that pop up in them makes me shake my head.  Matters have changed, and not always for the better, and the lack of compassion for and understanding of others voiced...I cannot say I am pleased to see it.

Also, here I discussed comments about standardized state exams and the amount of money being paid to produce them.  One would think that something that costs several million dollars to produce would be put through a simple fact-check and quality control review.  That is one of the things that is pushed forward as the virtue of the free market, after all, that it efficiently self-regulates and makes good products.  So when I saw this piece on the news this morning, I was surprised...very little.  I am aware that the myth of business efficiency and the basic ethical stance of corporations is just that: a myth.  It came as no shock to me that a business, one not interested in teaching so much as in making money, would fail to do what it needs to do to make valid, reliable tests--insofar as any one test can actually be an adequate assessment measure or means to drive instruction.  And it did not escape my notice that test results support administrative bonuses rather than going to the people who are held immediately accountable for the creation of those results.

And we wonder where our school tax dollars go.

*Of course, "no help" is not so much not helped.  But when one commentator sought to point that out, referencing the immensely increased tuition and fee rates, decreased governmental subsidies for public institutions, as well as the public infrastructure used to get to and support the school, he was roundly condemned as making, and I paraphrase, "sissy, liberal complaints."

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