• Bridging Differences

    In Bridging Differences
    Deborah exchanges views with a different colleague, each for a month or two.  Her current correspondent is Harry Boyte, a Minnesotan (although his roots are southern). He has always been a friend and mentor, even though we come to stuff in different ways and even disagree on and off. He is a professor and an activist, a theorist and a practitioner, with a focus on democracy—beginning a long time ago when he worked with Martin Luther King. He has written or edited ten books on the topic and founded a Center on
    democracy which is now at St Augsberg College, but formerly at the University of Minnesota.  

  • Where I’ll Be

    Nov 13th Fair Test Deborah Meier Heroes in Education Award honoring Nancy Paige-Carlsson and Lani Guinier. 6-8pm, Boston, MA.

    Nov 20 - A panel on assessment, in Hackensack, NJ, sponsored by the Hackensack Edcation Association, 6-8pm

  • Network for Public Education

  • Good Morning Mission Hill

    For information on showings or purchasing the video Good Morning Mission Hill
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A Consumer’s Union for Schools

What would it be like if we took our children and their teachers as seriously as CU takes the many products it “assesses”, “tests”, “reviews/”

If you haven’t looked at an issue of CU recently, pick one up.  Read the average auto review—and particularly the ones that compare a great many cars.  They do not give you a single score.  They “score” according to dozens of categories—so that the reader/consumer can keep in mind the trade-offs that are critical versus those that are trivial for their uses.  Do they need a lot of storage space, what the price tag? how many people fit into the car and other “objective” factors.   They also rate more subjective ones: how they like the dashboard, how “quiet” the ride is, etc.   The tests they use to create these individual scores are expensive and time-consuming.  And ever so often they even do a more in-depth review of most of the leading or more interesting cars.    They are guides to help us exercise judgment.

But when it comes to kids, their teachers and our schools we have a simpler cheaper and more standardized solution.

We’ve apparently concluded that it’s “easier” to rank order, rate, assess human beings than  cars.  When it comes to schooling, one, maybe two or three categories suffice.   We either care less about accuracy when it comes to students/teachers/schools vs. standardized products, or  misunderstand the peculiarity of treating human beings like they were standardized products.  Which, I wonder?

2 Responses

  1. Have you seen the comprehensive evaluation system that Minnesota New Country and EdVision schools use? If you’re interested, I can send it to you. They focus on project based, and the majority of members of their boards are teachers who work in the school.

  2. No I haven;t/ Thanks, Joe.

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