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Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act

HI all:

I think President Obama does "get it." Having been a community organizer in Southside Chicago he would have had to be blind not to. As Mike points out, however, there are some pretty important and/or dangerous things demanding attention now. I would rather he held off a bit, thoughtfully worked out a program, and then implemented it in a year or so when the current issues are a bit more under control.

To me, one of the crucial issues is breaking the hegemony of "high-stakes testing." Not only does it force teachers to "teach to the test," it also privileges the traditional "academic" cognitive style with its "one right answer" on the most abstract level possible (reference Joe Glick :-) . Here in Baltimore we have a truly horrendous public school system which when it teaches (accent on the "when") teaches to the tests, which sends the kids right out the door, and leaves them prepared for neither college nor work.

I was fortunate to be in middle/high school shortly after Sputnik went up, and before the testing mania hit. I had some really creative teachers in both English and science (George Hillocks, now at U. of Chicago, was my ninth grade English teacher). Outside of private schools and some affluent suburbs, it would be really hard to find that kind of teaching today. We've got to jettison "No Child Left Behind" and start encouraging real teaching again.

(Karen) Rachel Heckert


From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Sun, December 13, 2009 11:43:29 AM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Obama's Learn Act

In lieu or in addition, Catherine?
I see nothing to celebrate in the current administration's educational
priorities. I do know that some on XMCA have been spending time in
Washington pushing for alternatives with apparently no success. Perhaps the
failure of banks to lend, the difficulties of extricating ourselves from
decades of disasterous foreign policies, and health care have distracted
Obama from attending to this issue. On the other hand, perhaps he "just
doesn't get it."

What would you like to discuss on this topic?

On Sun, Dec 13, 2009 at 7:51 AM, <cconnery@ithaca.edu> wrote:

> Hi all,
> In lieu of this thread, it might be interesting to see what Obama's
> "secretary of education" has proposed for children birth-preK. The new
> "LEARN" act has been described as Bush's educational policy on steroids.
> Here is section 9 of the act:
> (e) Local Uses of Funds-
> (1) IN GENERAL- An eligible entity that receives a subgrant under this
> section shall use the subgrant funds consistent with the plan proposed in
> subsection (c) to carry out the following activities:
> (C) SCREENING ASSESSMENTS AND MEASURES- Acquiring, providing training for,
> and implementing screening assessments or other appropriate measures to
> determine whether children from birth through kindergarten entry are
> developing appropriate early language and literacy skills.
> Cathrene
> _______________________________________________
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> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
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