Our Doomed Public Schools

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    08-Apr-2018

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    OUR DOOMED STANDARDIZED TEST DRIVEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

    Our Delaware State Constitution, on page thirty-nine, gives the full responsibility andaccountability for program and cost efficient public schools to our sixty-two State Legislators. OurGovernor also has some direct responsibility as this office appoints our State Superintendent ofPublic Education and members of our State School Board.

    For decades these tragically uninformed and misinformed political public education decision-makers have developed policies and requirements they've stressfully superimposed on schoolbuilding staff, parents and students driven by detached, irrelevant standardized tests. Thesecoercive, threatening, ineffective rerquirements have caused most citizens to believe this is thecorrect approach to improving our public schools as it is accompanied by buzz words like"tougher standards" and "accountability."Research proves that even successful privatebusinesses train their workers in best knowledge practices and then empowers them for decision-making for improved products and/or services. In our public schools, anyone with a roomtemperature IQ knows that our school building level staff and parents are the adults who haveone hundred per cent of educational interactions with students. They will always be the keyhuman resource in improving our state's dismal record on education indicators, not corporatebusiness CEO's and elected politicians who have to get directions to visit school buildings.

    Over the past two decades, our national and Delaware corporate business communities andour two state branches of government have superimposed three restrictive, coercive, ineffective"tinker and proclaim" projects presented as school reform that would all give our state "worldclass schools." Three of these projects were the Sizer Project, Goals 2000 and No Child LeftBehind. The latest project is Vision 2015, also tied in with Race to the Top. All of these have orwill fail with costly tax-payer and lost human potential results as they contain no research-provencomprehensive reform plan which requires reform components training of school building levelstaff and parents and then empowering them to make all program decisions within and betweenschool buildings. This readily available program and cost effective reform knowledge is onehundred eighty degrees from our ongoing costly, wasteful bureaucratic organizationalarrangement and process. I recommend googling and reading the information about the newmovie "Race to Nowhere" that is being viewed by groups throughout our nation and informscitizens as I am trying to do in this article. I also recommend googling Standardized Tests and

    reading what some Educational Scholars inform about the costly, ineffectiveness of standardizedtest driven school systems and their schools. Our state level political representatives and theiralways aligned appointed officials have convinced the majority of citizens that perpetuating failingpublic schools via "winners/losers" and "one size fits all" standardized tests is the way to operateour public schools. Ask any teacher if standardized tests help with planning lessons of whatshould be taught and learned in the classroom. An all-purpose excuse for our public schoolmalaise is to point a finger at the victim students and proclaim, "It's there for them to learn and ifthey don't learn it, it's their fault." No, totally uninformed, you should credibly examine the threefingers pointing back at you.

    In states like Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin, charter schools andvouchers supporting private schools were not destroying public schools quick enough. Theirrecently elected Republican Governors and State Legislators have quickly passed laws

    eliminating collective bargaining rights for teachers, elimination of teacher job tenure, drasticallyreducing public education budgets and other assaults designed to deliver a final death blow topublic education. Michigan, for example, is now applying a new law which gives their Governorthe right to appoint a Financial Director Dictator to take over any local government or publicschool district deemed in serious financial difficulty. This single Dictator can contract quickly withprofit-making corporate businesses to take over operations of these previously publicly controlledlocal governmental organizations. The other two huge cash cow public programs these corporate-controlled politicians want to privatize are Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Their campaignrhetoric didn't disclose these privatization plans. And this political party proclaims loudlynationwide it wants to keep government out of our lives. As a political independent, among the

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    now largest number of registered voters, it's not hard to understand why hordes of theseindependent voters are not supporting these Wall Street goals.

    There are two thoroughly research-proven comprehensive program and cost effective publicschool system reform models being utilized in our nation. Both atre explained on the SchoolReform page of our nonprofit, nonpartisan deinformedvoters.org web site. One is theKindergarten through Grade Three Primary Phase Developmentally Appropriate Practicesprogram developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).The other is the Quality District Model, a total district reform system that's the only comprehensivedistrict-wide K-12 reform system validated by the prestigious Program Effectiveness Panelcreated by the US Department of Education and eight years later re-validated in adopter districtsby the same Panel. For over twenty years, I worked as a Consultant/Trainer for the USDepartment of Education and the nonprofit national/international Partners for Quality Learningorganization helping State Departments of Education and School Districts from Hawaii to Mainetrain staff and parents to implement these reform systems. All elementary schools in theCanadian Province of British Columbia use the NAEYC reform Primary Phase program. Theexemplary Kentucky Education Act mandated this K-3 program in their elementary schools. Theiract also mandated initial and continuous best knowledge training be provided building level staffand parents and that all program decisions be made by a school building level committeecomprised of the

    Principal, three Teachers elected by peers and two Parent Leaders elected by peers. I was thefirst brought in to provide foundational training to some twelve hundred State Department staffand all of Kentucky's District Superintendents, Elementary School Principals and Lead Teacherson these two mandated State Act requirements.

    Both of these research-documented reform systems train staff and parents to relate instruction,curriculum and AUTHENTIC, ongoing, performance embedded assessment to each student'srate and style of learning. All students make solid academic and other personal/socialdevelopmental progress without being flunked, labeled, sorted or segregated. These unnecessarydestructive practices cause at least ten percent of teachers and other building level staff's time tobe wasted handling inappropriate or disruptive behavior outbursts. School Districts that trainedstaff and parents and competently implemented the Quality District Model show at least a district-wide academic score gain of at least two grade levels. Students are not taught to pass rote

    memorization standardized test questions but given interdisciplinary learning experiences thatdevelop their creative, innovative abilities and higher order thinking and problem solving skills.Students' critical and independent thinking are developed in these schools. These reformeddistricts graduate well over ninety percent of their students compared with our Delaware rate ofslightly over sixty percent. That indicator alone would equal a $300 million annual increase inefficiency. Even recent News Journal articles inform us we're seventh from the top state in perstudent annual funding but forty-third in drop-out rate and forty-seventh in creating studentsafflicted with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) with fourteen percent of students inthis "Hardening of the Categories" illness. I have sent packages of best knowledge explanationsand research evidence to our state level elected and appointed education decision-makers andasked to meet with them to explain these two reform systems and arrange a visit to at least oneof these continuous education progress for all students districts. Not a single individual or grouphas accepted my invitation. I suggest a desk paperweight with the following inscription, "The only

    difference between a rut and grave is depth."

    Dr. Floyd E. McDowell is Facilitator of the nonprofit, nonpartisan deinformedvoters.org web site.He resides at 11 Dover Court, Bear, DE 19701 and can be reached at (302) 832-2799) or viaemail at flydmcdwll@comcast.net.

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