David Coleman (Common Core writer and current president of the College Board) is deeply concerned with fairness. Huffington Post has a report from the Aspen Institute (because "let's solve America's social problems" is so often associated with "let's go to Aspen") on Coleman's "conversation" with Jane Stoddard Williams of Bloomberg EDU, and the excerpts presented give us a picture of how Coleman plans to
He is sure to tout his free test prep deal with Kahn Academy, by which the College Board will
But Coleman's not here primarily to tout the new
When we worry, perhaps rightly, that assessment can discriminate, let's remember that there's another thing that we know ... that can discriminate more, which is adults.
Yup. That's the problem. Because Coleman says he has learned from "my work in K-12" that we've got to change our game. And that test anxiety is bad. And, using one of his new
And let's give Coleman credit-- he hasn't said anything that's particularly wrong. What the most capable of reformsters understand is this simple process:
1) Say something true as a premise
2) Do something awful that does not actually follow from #1 at all
See, he's worried that African-Americans and women and Latinos are missing out on
So let's use the PSAT to generate
Look, the lack of minorities and women in certain fields is a legitimate problem, and it's a problem the education world should be addressing, and addressing aggressively. But the fact that Coleman can correctly diagnose the disease does not mean we should keep listening when he says, "So you should buy a bottle of Dr. Coleman's Miracle Cure, made of oil squeezed from the finest snakes in Arabia."
We knew this was coming. The Coleman College Board is a business that has leveraged some genius marketing strategies; who else has found the giant brass balls to get their product made part of state policy (well, other than Common Core-- one more reason Coleman's new job makes sense). And if AP were as great as it says, or at least benign, that would be swell. But even as the College Board struggles to regain market share, they are also working feverishly to mess with their products. The SAT has been redesigned to match the Core, and AP courses have begun a transition from loosely structured high-quality courses to CCSS-aligned tightly structured products in a box.
But Coleman's recasting of the College Board quest for new markets as a drive for social justice is the work of a master salesman. Coleman may not know jack about education, but he can