Thursday, October 2, 2008

Desperate Testing Shams

Schools in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana are transferring magnet school students' tests to the local schools that they would have attended. 
Jefferson school officials began rerouting scores last year at the urging of School Board member Judy Colgan, who feared the system's fledgling advanced studies schools were draining neighborhood schools of their brightest students and consequently lowering those schools' test scores.

School Sucks: but we'll bribe you with cell phone minutes!

Roland G. Fryer, Jr., former "Chief Equality Officer" for NYC schools and Harvard economist will head up the Education Innovation Lab, funded with $44 million from Eli Broad. The first year, researchers, who include "economists," "marketers," and "others" who are interested in reforming education will focus on studying "incentives" for students. This would include Fryer's plan to give middle school students cell phone minutes based on their performance. His plan won't be implemented in NYC (thank God), because the money couldn't be raised by private donors. Currently, NYC pays students in ninth and tenth grade up to $500 for test scores. It hasn't worked so far, but they're going to keep doing it.

Couldn't the money do much more if it was spent on teaching & learning--providing incentives for students to come to school because the subject matter is relevant and interesting, the buildings are welcoming, and teachers care about them?