Category Archives: Standards & Testing

Documentation for IJSE article: “Howard Zinn and the Struggle for Real History in the United States”

The items on this page are posted as documentation for an article that will appear later this year in the International Journal of Social Education. The complete bibliographic citation for that article will be added here when it becomes available. Advertisements

Ab-using measurement (education testing, & misreading a JAMA report)

True or false: New research shows that for older people, a faster gait leads to a longer life. Answer:  False — despite news coverage to the contrary (apparently). Since this is a blog about curriculum-related matters, I want to start by explaining why this post is even here. Then I will review the story about […]

Silhouettes of knowing as “Potemkin knowledges”

In a 2007 article,* I discussed how our prevailing approach to education results in the production of mere silhouettes in place of genuine knowing and understanding. Rhetorically, there might be some good occasion for referring to such things as “Potemkin knowledges,” analogous to the old “Potemkin Villages.” This fragmentary thought is hardly worthy of a blog […]

Ravitch: “Just Say No to the Race to the Top”

On a blog at Education Week, Diane Ravitch advises that states should “Just Say No to the Race to the Top.” Ravitch notes: It might better be called the Race to Nowhere, or as some have dubbed it, the Race to the Trough or the Dash to the Cash. She notes the demoralization of teachers […]

Texas SBOE vs. “Capitalism” (with audio)

I’m too busy this week to follow the circus going on now in Austin; I’ll have to catch up later. However, I think I should post some audio (below) to provide background on this business, as reported by TFN Insider: 12:04 – The current standards draft currently refer to the economic system that exists in the […]

Ohio Council for the Social Studies on Ohio curriculum revision

Here’s a position statement by OCSS on the revision of Social Studies standards in Ohio: 

Texas Standards and the “Quality Counts” report

Being ignorant is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is nothing to be particularly proud of either. A large and disruptive segment of the Texas State Board of Education is not only ignorant — a state that we all share at various times and on various subjects — it is proudly and aggressively ignorant, […]

Texas Exceptionalism (Texas opts out of common education standards)

Governor Rick Perry announced today that Texas will not submit an application for education funding in the federal government’s “Race to the top” competition. His office issued a press release under the title:  Gov. Perry: Texas Knows Best How to Educate Our Students. Here’s a video clip from his announcement: more about “Office of the […]

SBOE: The Missing Episodes

From what we hear in these proceedings, there could be an SBOE majority, along with the Commissioner, who are open to this kind of politicization of committee membership, not only for TEKS development, but for textbook approval as well. They have the power to do this even thought it’s not really required by the statute (as Ames falsely claims that it is). Still, in case the claim about the statute will not be put to rest by the Board’s TEA lawyer, the sane attorneys Craig and Berlanga must be prepared to request an opinion from the Attorney General, which would decisively shut down this claim by the appointees of Bradley and McLeroy.

Voting on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, by Party

This (and the previous) post are written with concern for “ensuring that our youth get an accurate historical view of the United States,” rather than the false view that Virginia Foxx and others have been trying to project, with their deceptive use of such practices as concealing the historical context while alluding to the aggregated voting percentages. Factually accurate statistics can always be used, without their necessary context, for telling lies. As they say, “Figures never lie, but liars figure.”

Experts, standards, textbooks

It looks to me like they have not actually changed the definition of who is an expert. What they’ve done, rather, is to change it so people don’t need any expertise to be on the textbook review panel. I can see how there could be some rationale for including non-experts in the standards development process, since that can be regarded as a policy-making process, in which it could make some sense to include some political interest representation, along with the expertise. The same rationale would not apply, however, to the review of textbooks. At that point, the policy decisions have been made already. Policy determination is something prior to and separate from textbook review. Textbook review might require different kinds of expertise (expertise in grade-specific pedagogy, for example, as well as expertise in the subject or discipline), but it is not a process calling for further policy-making representation of political, commercial, or industrial interests. Employers might have expertise for judging textbooks and materials for occupational/vocational courses, but not for courses in science, math, history, etc.

TX SBOE not interested in hearing from experts, teachers

Meeting as the Committee of the Full Board Thursday night, November 19, the Texas State Board of Education made it clear that they are not interested in hearing any further from their “experts” or the writing teams of social studies specialists in their revision of social studies standards for the state of Texas. (Click here […]

US Educ Sec Arne Duncan on Colbert (Oct 5, 2009)

This weekend I saw Chris Hedges on BookTV’s “AfterWords,” and I thought “this is somebody that I need to see on the Colbert Report.” I decided to do some posting to encourage that encounter (that will be my next post after this one — see the post above this one, or the link with arrow, […]

TCS report on new Texas science standards

A report by Texas Citizens for Science on the Science Standards adopted by TSBOE in March is now posted on the TCS website. Dr. Steven Schafersman, President of TCS, tweets: New TCS report on Texas science standards just posted on the website. The new standards can be used to improve evolution education if the science […]

NCSE: Science coverage better, but creationism creeping in

A new study by NCSE staff (available in html and pdf) finds improvement in state science standards, marred by the creeping influence of creationist language. Here is the abstract: In 2000, Lawrence Lerner and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation reviewed state science standards in 49 states and the District of Columbia, specifically with respect to […]

Kevin Welner “Obama’s Dalliance with Truthiness” (limited time public access)

“During his campaign, Barack Obama was adept at identifying the Bush administration’s failures to use research responsibly. He assured us that he would not misspend taxpayer dollars on projects that were ideologically appealing but unsupported by facts. No more would policy be based on imaginary or invented evidence at odds with the best knowledge available.

“But those who believed in this promise are now confronted with policy edicts from the Department of Education that are as ill-grounded, dogmatic, and heavy-handed as any that emerged from the prior administration. These edicts are tied to the Department’s “Race to the Top,” a $4.35 billion program that is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus spending.”

the Comer decision: What “disputed issues”?

While awaiting news on whether the decision against Chris Comer’s suit against the TEA will be appealed, I have finally gotten around to reading the opinion by District Court Judge Lee Yeakel (not to be confused with the Simpson’s character). There’s a serious problem in the judge’s analysis (and the TEA’s argument), but to take […]