By All Measures: 'Root Problem: Communication'

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

I see three major obstacles, not in hierarchical order, but all potential roadblocks:

First, the impatience and isolation of some officials of the U.S. Education Department who, in at least one case, believe that the National Assessment of Educational Progress is a national examination, so what are we waiting for?

Second, the general ignorance about national standards and the proposed assessment system among educators--teachers, administrators, superintendents--outside the Beltway. If this state of ignorance persists, it will turn into active resistance to national standards and a national examination system, because they will be perceived as one more imposition from the top.

Third, the almost willful obstructionism of parents and members of the public, who can't see why school shouldn't be the way it was when they suffered through it: "I came out all right. What's the problem with multiple-choice, or tracking, or rote learning, or slogging through long division?''

What can be done about these obstacles? In the first case, encourage the Congress to leave NAEP as it is and not fund it for further expansion.

In the other two cases, the root problem is poor communication. Teachers must be told by every means possible--their administrators, their unions, their professional organizations--that they can have a voice in the standards-setting processes and the design of the examination system. If they choose not to, that's their privilege, but they shouldn't have the feeling of being left out of a process that affects them so seriously.

And the parents and public? Here's an opportunity for a foundation to do some creative funding. Pay top journalists--and I'm talking network news here--in both TV and print to participate in a week's retreat to understand what's important in education. When I read, hear, and see the inaccuracies spread abroad by the media, I worry about the information they give me about fields I know less about.

But although people form their opinions on sound-bites, media sensationalism isn't the whole story. The public will respond to leadership, to a clear message from the top that our educational system must change, not only for the economic welfare of the country, but for the welfare of its soul as a democracy. We need an education President.

Vol. 11, Issue 39, Page s15

Published in Print: June 17, 1992, as By All Measures: 'Root Problem: Communication'
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >