Advised by 300 Iowa teachers, Howard Dean announced his plan to reform President Bush’s education reforms. Other than giving schools more money, Dean’s key proposal is to relax accountability provisions by introducing more subjective measures of progress:
We must set reasonable goals for adequate yearly progress that are fair to students, teachers, schools, and states and do not rely solely on standardized tests; include multiple measures of learning and progress in assessing success; measure individual student growth using “value-added” approaches, not average student scores that encourage schools to push out low-scoring students; and develop appropriate methods to assess students with disabilities and English language learners.
Under his plan, states would decide when to assess student learning, which means states could skip subjects or grade levels. Dean also opposes letting students transfer from “failing” schools, since funding follows the student.
Not surprisingly he wants to spend more on free breakfast programs and student health centers.
Pressure to change would be eased, since it would be easier to fuzz inconvenient news and much easier to avoid consequences for poor performance. However, Dean did throw in a reference to “value-added” analysis, which is the hot new thing. It requires lots of testing to produce crunchable data. I wonder if he understands that.