Monday, September 26, 2016

NAEP Board Still Includes Few Educators

See, John King. This is one more reason we have a hard time taking you seriously. Because for all your big talk about teachers being leaders and raising the profession and teach to lead and all the rest, when it comes time to put people in charge of Important Stuff, actual teachers do not get the call.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is sometimes called the nation's report card. It is the grandmama of Big Standardized Tests, the measure by which other BS Tests are sometimes measured. The NAEP is managed by the National Assessment Governing Board, and King just announced the appointment of six members to four-year terms on that board.

“We are honored to welcome these exceptional education leaders to the Board,” King said. “The Board plays a vital role in helping to shape education in our country, and their perspectives and insights will be major assets in strengthening the status of The Nation’s Report Card as the gold standard for measuring academic achievement.”

Exceptional education leaders! Well, that sounds awesome. Who are these exceptional education leaders? (Spoiler alert: not people who have ever spent time in a classroom.)

Rebecca Gagnon- Gagnon is a member of the Minneapolis School Board and a stay-at-home mom, whose board campaign was marked by the kind of union support that makes reformsters cranky. But educational experience? Not so much.

Andrew Ho- Ho is a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Ed, specializing in psychometrics and test-based accountability.  So he at least has some expertise in the testing field. And some of his writing suggests that he has a good grasp of the problems that occur when politicians and policy makers start playing with test result data.

Terry Mazany- Mazany is president and CEO of the Chicago Trust, one of those organizations formed by businessmen when they want to run a piece of government (in this case, education) without being elected, but look like public-spirited good guys while they're doing it. Mazany has been an occasional superintendent and one-time interim head of Chicago schools. Arne Duncan put him on the NAGB, where he is now the chair.

Jeanette Nunez- A GOP state legislator from Florida (aka ten-time finalist for "Worst Education State in USA"). She's been a political staffer, a hospital administrator, and a part-time college prof.

Joseph O'Keefe- Jesuit priest who's been a visiting professor and has been long involved with Catholic school biz and teacher assessment. He's here as a non-public school administrator.

Alice Peisch- A Dem state legislator from Massachusetts. She's currently head of the Joint Committee on Education, and has previously been a town clerk and school board member.

Look, these may all be absolutely swell people. But clearly the slate was selected with an eye on the optics and yet still, somehow, nobody whose background is firmly rooted in the classroom was included. And while the group is soliciting nominations to fill four more positions, those open positions are for an elementary school principal, two general public representatives, and a testing and measurement expert. Yes, this committee that shapes the gold standard of assessment, which in turn shapes instruction and education in the country, has spots set aside for regular civilians.

By law, the NAGB has twenty-five seats, and of those twenty-five seats, a grand total of three are set aside for actual teachers. There are four general public members of the general public, two governors, two principals, but three testing and measurement experts. There's ample opportunity to include people who are heavy in actual classroom background, but instead we've got folks like Massachusetts Pusher of Privatization Mitchell Chester and Ken Wagner, brought in to be Rhode Island's educational Reformer in Chief after helping New York State try to launch the inBloom data mining adventure.

So KIng can make noises about teacher leaders and building respect for the profession, but at the end of the day, when the feds want to do Important Things, it's not teachers that they call upon.

1 comment:

  1. Since no one is a teacher, they won't have to worry that someone will go off topic in their meetings and talk about what really happens in the classroom.