Sunday, January 27, 2008

Closing the gap

Two giants of education with differing views, Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch, are having an amicable conversation in search of common ground, and in the process are covering a lot of ground. It's all happening in a blog aptly titled Bridging Differences.

I am not totally convinced that finding common ground is always desirable. Yes, it sounds good. Maybe something positive comes out of it. However, there is the danger of moving away from one's sound position in order to bridge the gap.

The blog is open for comments. I took the opportunity to counter views that seem mistaken to me. Here are my most recent comments:

"The only way to counter the “testing and accountability” movement (which has failed miserably at improving our students’ learning)..."

You are a victim of a common confusion. Testing is the messenger who brings news of the state of learning. All that testing does it tell educationists that they have or have not succeeded in what they are supposed to do.

A thermometer analogy will immediately reveal the fallaciousness of your statement. Visualize an outdoor thermometer that shows the temperature to be five below zero and then imagine someone cursing that the thermometer has failed to raise the temperature to a cozy 75 degrees.

Posted by: instructivist January 27, 2008 9:53 PM

"Kids born to white-collar parents attend schools where—hey—if you can’t answer the lower-order questions, but are successful when answering questions that call for synthesis, comparison, etc., you’re creative and gifted!"

Don't worry about the white-collar parents' kids supposed ability to do synthesis and comparison. They can't synthesize and compare if there is nothing to synthesize and compare. The Bloom levels are inextricably linked. One level can't happen without the preceding level. You need ingredients to bake. You erroneously assume white-collar parents' kids can bake with thin air.

Posted by: instructivist January 27, 2008 10:07 PM

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