Saturday, November 30, 2013

If Standardization Is The Problem, How Can A Czar Be The Solution?

Joanne asks this question in response to former NEA President John Wilson's contradictory article:
Well, one of my favorite Southern sayings may be even truer as it relates to those implementing Common Core State Standards: "A bureaucrat can screw up a two-car funeral procession!"

Who would have thought the "powers that be" could make such a mess of what started out as a powerful and game-changing idea...

The problem is not the standards; it is the implementation and the bureaucratic desire to standardize everything about the education process from lesson plans to testing. This must stop. Policy needs to change. Administrators must adjust practices. Teachers must be respected. The accountability system has to be overhauled or Common Core State Standards are doomed for failure.

To deal with the chaos, we desperately need a single authority to oversee the implementation, call out bad practices, and recommend policy changes to the politicians. We need a Common Core Czar. 
A "central planner" can solve any problem, right?  Those union types sure do like to think that way.


Happy Elf Mom said...

But... but... we have a Drug Czar and now we have no problems with illegal drugs!

For a long time, I thought the Drug Czar was the head of the Mafia, and our government just sorta negotiated with him every now and then. Guess not. :/

allen (in Michigan) said...

Of course they like to think that way since centralization plays to the union's strengths.

Centralization tends to reduce the differences rather then accommodate them. It doesn't matter the venue the convenience of the bureaucrats takes precedence over the convenience, or livelihood, of those they oversee. For unions that suppression of differences is crucial since a labor contract becomes unmanageable when it has to account for too many categories of employees.

You can see that dynamic at work in the public education sector here in the U.S.

It's still largely common practice to stick any teacher into any classroom regardless of their skills or level of preparation. It's taken legislation to force school districts to make sure the most demanding teaching assignments, working with special ed kids, is staffed by teachers who have training which supposedly prepares them for such an assignment. Otherwise school administrators would have done what they have always done, stick any warm body into the special ed classrooms.

What's crucial to understand is that this situation will never change within the context of the district system. It's just inherently unresponsive and inherently self-referential. As that truth becomes more widely appreciated the district system suffer, eventually to be discarded.

May it happen sooner rather then later.