Friday, January 23, 2015

One Size Fits All

Congress is revisiting ESEA, in the form of NCLB. Senator Lamar Alexander has asked for input and comment from the public. Here is my letter to him:

Dear Senator Alexander,

In response to your call for comments on the revision of ESEA (NCLB), I have a modest proposal.  Given that Secretary Duncan has repeatedly praised the new Common Core standards, and the annual tests that accompany those standards, it seems unfair that only public school students are the beneficiaries of David Coleman’s chef d’oevre.

Therefore, I would like to propose that the CCSS and tests like the PARCC and SBAC be made mandatory for all students across this great nation of ours. When I say all students, I mean ALL students, no exceptions. This would include students in private, parochial, online or home schools, all of whom would be required to meet these college and career-ready standards for the 21st century, and to present themselves for annual testing.

We cannot afford to leave the education of non-public school students to chance or the expertise of their teachers. After all, what do mere teachers know in comparison to the brilliant CCSS writers, none of whom were tainted by actual classroom experience?

Parents of these children may complain that one size does not fit all, but they are just over-privileged whiners. After all, one size has been deemed by Secretary Duncan to be appropriate for all public school students; therefore, logic dictates that the CCSS would also be appropriate for all other students. Not one can be permitted to evade accountability. We must have data on all our young people, lest we fall behind!

The type, philosophy and teaching methods of the private, parochial, online or home schools are irrelevant. If adherence to CCSS and the accompanying high-stakes testing causes these schools to scale back or eliminate science, social studies, PE, and arts classes, that is a tiny price to pay for making sure that all students are college and career-ready, and that they can prove that readiness through testing.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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