Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Editors Make Lousy Education Analysts

– Editorial staff at the Courier-Journal continues to provide evidence that they really don’t understand Kentucky education

During last year’s meetings of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Assessment and Accountability Task Force, I found myself agreeing with the Kentucky Education Association (KEA) on a number of points.

One is the fact that federal writing test results strongly support what Kentucky teachers tell us – writing portfolios lose their effectiveness and actually become counter-productive when they are used in the CATS accountability program. In fact, CATS writing portfolios tie teachers’ hands.

I even joked with Sharron Oxendine, the president of the KEA, that when the Bluegrass Institute and the union agree, it is significant enough for the governor to call a special session to enact the required legislation right away.

Of course, the Courier-Journal had no direct way of knowing this – I never saw a Courier reporter at any of the task force meetings, and others present noted this absence, as well.

Still, after going “missing in action,” the editors at the Courier somehow think they have the inside track on problems with the assessment. The editors, who probably don’t spend much time in classrooms or talking to teachers, either, somehow think they can pontificate about how lazy our teachers are.

Well, when the Courier gets off its own lazy backside and starts showing up at important education meetings again, maybe they will learn enough to make some positive inputs to the discussion.

Right now, though, the Courier has mortgaged its credibility on this issue. They just stayed home.

Meanwhile people like Oxendine and me were out there interacting to see what we might collectively be able to do so our kids don’t score near the bottom on the federal writing tests again like we did in 2007.

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