SAY IT ISN’T SO! TEACHERS AND TESTERS CAUGHT FIXING STANDARDIZED ...April 18, 2015
Regular readers here know that every now and then I have to rant about the deplorable state of Amairikun edgykayshun and the blockheads running it (they're the ones usually with Ed.D. behind their names). Well, today's rant is brought to us courtesy of my Transhumanism co-author, Dr. Scott D. deHart who, as opposed to Ed.D's, has a real doctorate in a real academic discipline from a real, though small and unaccredited foreign academic institution, and who spotted this one on Faux News and decided to share it. I have to pass it along to all of you watching the 2016 (s)election theater get underway. As you probably guessed from the title of this article, the subject concerns cheating on one of Amaircuh's (I'm following the Webstir's Dickshunairee spelling here) many standardized tests:
Let's not (sic) some things from this article; first, this:
"All but one of 10 former Atlanta public school educators were sentenced to jail time Tuesday in a widespread conspiracy to inflate student scores on the state's standardized tests, and the judge called the case 'the sickest thing that's ever happened in this town.'" (Emphasis added)
Well, silly me, I would have thought General Sherman's march on Atlanta was the sickest thing to happen to the town, but I digress.
And then, this:
"Former Superintendent Beverly Hall was among those indicted, but she did not stand trial because her lawyers argued successfully that she was too sick. She died from complications of breast cancer."
Now, the impression left by these two statements is that such corruption in the education and testing "business" is a one of a kind thing, even though it extended all the way up to a superintendent. We're left with the unstated proposition that this must be something unique to Atlanta, and therefore, possibly to big corrupt city governments and school districts. It's a one off; a hit and miss thing. It is not, therefore, the system itself, and Amairicuh's intoxication with the trappings of pseudo-education - teacher certification, doctors of "education" (I won't mince words here: it's a pseudo-discipline, and its practitioners, without exception, are fast-talking quacks), and a Russo-Soviet philosophy of bureaucracy befitting the progressivist and quasi-Marxist principles from which all this claptrap began (a philosophy of bureaucratic agency that would make Trotsky blush, that philosophy being "why have just one bureaucrat when three can do the job so much more inefficiently?")... it is not any of this that is at fault. No sir. The problem is not the system. This is an isolated case. Nothing to see here. Move along.
But if you think that such tinkering with the scores is unique to Atlanta or that it's something in Atlanta's drinking water, think again. In 2009, a former mandarin of the testing "industry," Todd Farley, who had served a stint at the notorious Educational Testing Service (the Frankenstein brainchild of James Bryant Conant and Henry Chauncey) published a book that I recommend readers here read if you are concerned about just the effects of standardized testing alone on Amairicun edgykayshun (leaving out certification, Doctors of Edubabble, group leaders, facilitators and all the other nonsense and quackery that goes with it). That book's title says it all: Making the Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry (San Francisco: Berrett-Hoehler Publishers, Inc.: 2009).
Farley documents an "industry" rife with corruption and score tinkering, from his days at the very bottom of the rung, entering test scores into computers, all the way up to the upper reaches of Chauncey's monster. The fun thing about the book is reading all the pseudo-academic terms that were invented to cover these "score adjustments," or (to employ a term from physics massively out of context), "renormalization." (The technical jargon in edubabblese is almost as bad: "recalibration.") One may summarize these "techniques" as simply being a case of "when the results don't match the predicted statistical model, make the results fit." Of course, the devil is in the details, and Farley's book has those in abundance, including run-ins with a bureaucratic persona who, in spite of the changes of name, sex, age, parentage, and location, remains the same across all contexts: there to preserve his(or her) job, and to ensure that the "results" fit the "rubric" dictated by some regional Education Soviet.
The bottom line here, as elsewhere, is that Amairicuh's grand experiment with progressivism in education - with bloated bureaucrats drawing enormous salaries while teachers are faced with more busywork, state and federal requirements, filling out reports, attending useless and (deliberately intended) mind-numbing time-wasting meetings, while adjunct professors barely make a living and are paid on a semester basis (imagine having to budget your day to day living when your paycheck only comes once every four months!), and without benefits - its big name universities whose academic standards are questionable... all of it, all of it, is going to come crashing down around their heads for one simple reason: real education can be had elsewhere, and at a fraction of the cost. And no, I'm not talking about "online education" either. I'm talking about the real human interaction with those teachers and professors that can change lives by motivating people to think for themselves, and to challenge the status quo. Amairicun edgycayshun has simply become a gatekeeper for a variety of orthodoxies and collectives, nothing more, orthodoxies from "the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid, aligned it with optical precision, using copper saws and diorite slurry", to "string theory is the only accepted theory in current physics," "Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone," or (one of my favorites that I heard from an education student when I taught European history in college), Adolf Hitler started World War Two because he had a bad childhood and an abusive alcoholic father. The few remaining teachers and professors of any real intelligence and moral fiber and grit in the Amairicun system - from kindergarten to the post-graduate level - all have their own horror stories like this. "Gender" has replaced "sex" on forms (a gross misuse of the term gender), "it's" is now the possessive of "it," "quote" (a verb) is acceptable in Amairicun English for "quotation" (the noun), The Ukraine has become simply "Ukraine" because of some silly linguistic pandering for political purposes because some Ukrainians are upset about the way the English language works, and on and on it goes. And, of course, the main Dummycrook and Republithug presidential contenders, Billary Clinton and Jeb of the famous shrubbery dynasty, are both on board with the next program of nonsense, Common Core.
Or, to summarize the grand failure that has been Amairicun edgycayshun since Dewey, Conant, Chauncey and their ilk succeeded in inflicting their "vision" upon the rest of us, in the words of a friend of mine, "Are we really surprised that this happens? And for those who do not cheat, the reality is that it is a failure to teach students anyhow - it is memorization by repetition - short term memory (the quickest dropped), and thus cheating the actual purpose of "education" which is more in the asking of questions leading to self discovery and experience as opposed to teaching FOR tests, taking practice tests, gathering information that is to be tested on and teaching for the test. At the end, what matters is the score, not so much how one arrives at it nor concern for what becomes knowledge that is useful."
And that's the bottom line: cheating and fraud are endemic to this system. Or, to put it plainly enough so that even a graudate of an education program or a Doctor of Edubabble can understand it, the system is fraudulent from top to bottom.
Of course, maybe I'm being optimistic that such people can understand the meaning of "fraud" and their own narcissistic roles in perpetuating it.
See you on the flip side...