To the Editor:
Reading “Consortia Flesh Out Concepts for Common Assessments” (Aug. 24, 2011) prompted me to recall a verse from the Gospel of Matthew about the blind leading the blind, and both falling into the ditch.
Maybe the $360 million in Race to the Top grants to the two design groups will cushion the fall.
I was particularly struck by the fact that what’s being produced by both groups “highlight[s] the importance of having text become progressively more complex,” according to the Education Week article.
Very high on my list of what’s wrong with most schooling is the assumption that making sense of text about reality has come to be more important to most educators than making sense of reality. Alfred North Whitehead warned us about that almost 100 years ago when he said: “The second-handedness of the learned world is the secret of its mediocrity.” But I suppose the focus on text is essential to the consortia’s work. If they thought that educating meant helping the young make more sense of reality, they’d have to face the fact that the more successful the effort, the less it lends itself to standardized testing.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2011 edition of Education Week as Consortia’s Efforts Focus on Wrong Concepts