The Deadly Effects Of “Tougher Standards”: Challenging High-Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning – (Lecture Topic)

THE DEADLY EFFECTS OF "TOUGHER STANDARDS":  Challenging High-Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning The main effect "of the drive for so-called higher standards in schools is that the children are too busy to think," said John Holt in 1959. Today, an ill-informed version of school reform has been embraced by politicians, corporate executives, and journalists, all demanding "accountability," which ... Read More

Change by Decree (##)

AMERICAN SCHOOL BOARD JOURNAL January 2013 Change by Decree By Alfie Kohn Everyone is opposed to making educators implement lousy ideas -- “lousy” being defined as something the speaker doesn’t like.  But it’s a lot more challenging to take a stand against -- and, if you’re in a position of relative power, to refuse to engage in -- the practice ... Read More

Schooling Beyond Measure (##)

EDUCATION WEEK September 19, 2012 Schooling Beyond Measure By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the published article.] As we tend to value the results of education for their measurableness, so we tend to undervalue and at last ignore those results which are too intrinsically valuable to be measured. -- Edmond G. A. Holmes, chief inspector of ... Read More

Teachers Describe the Harms of Test-Driven School Reform

To understand the true impact of raise-the-bar, close-the-gap “school reform” – the type demanded by corporate executives, imposed by politicians of both parties, and celebrated by pundits – you need to hear from the people who spend their days in real classrooms. Never mind that no credible evidence has ever shown that children benefit from high-stakes testing, . . . (Read More)

Beware of School “Reformers”

THE NATION December 29, 2008 Beware of School “Reformers” By Alfie Kohn  “If we taught babies to talk as most skills are taught in school, they would memorize lists of sounds in a predetermined order and practice them alone in a closet.” -- Linda Darling-Hammond Political progressives are in short supply on the president-elect’s list of cabinet nominees.  When he ... Read More

Test Today, Privatize Tomorrow

[Addendum 2009: “Math scores are up on Long Island and statewide – enough so that state educational leaders could soon start raising the bar….Meryl Tisch of Manhattan, the new Chancellor of the state’s Board of Regents, said…’What today’s scores tell me is not that we should be celebrating but that New York State needs to . . . (Read More)

Only for My Kid: How Privileged Parents Undermine School Reform (*)

What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy.

— John Dewey, School and Society
Mike McClaren, a superintendent in Oklahoma, was attracted to the idea of a “performance-based” curriculum: . . . (Read More)