Dean on education

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.

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  1. “Value Added”??? Like how to ‘hot wire’ a car? Or, how to take best advantage of the increasing ‘welfare state?’

  2. Pandering to the NEA, eh Howard?

  3. I really don’t like the expansion of the government that is taking place under the Bush administration but Lieberman is about the only Democratic candidate I could possibly vote for. I keep wondering “Is this the best our current political system can offer us?”.

  4. Ken Summers says:

    I wonder if he even knows what the term “value-added” means.

    For that matter, I wonder if the people who use it for education know.

  5. Ross wrote: I keep wondering “Is this the best our current political system can offer us?”

    No, but you keep finding all sorts of plausible-sounding reasons to limit yourselves to a “choice” between Tweedledee and Tweedledum.