We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The goal of the Education Department was to enhance education. The goal of the Energy Department was to increase our energy independence. For fifty years, the government has been fighting a war on poverty and and drugs and poverty and drug dealers have won. There's a message in there somewhere.
What don't you get about the Democrats wanting "us to all be on the same page"? That is a quote from one of the Dems from California. What's really important is all the corrupt machinations that have gone on behind the scenes to get everything and everyone "on the same page".
While I agree with keeping Washington out of the local schools, how do we measure teacher performance? Measuring academic achievement by testing is one way to do it, whether is on paper or say randomly asking a student at the lunch table something he should know.
Back in the day, all students in our province had to take their Grade 12 finals, which constituted 50% of their mark. Teachers wailing and moaning about this, complaining that such testing was unfair, submitting the students to too much stress. Our offsprings took those tests in stride. One even remarked to me that these tests would be a fairer measure of abilities, given that the teachers often had a 'student du jour' who could do no wrong. Said offspring's marks went up considerably when the government tests were factored in, including one English mark which was a perfect 30/30. Offspring returned to school to see teachers, and happened to run into English teacher, who had been marking the exams. Our offspring came away convinced that this teacher had marked the exam without realizing whose it was, hence the perfect score. The 'student du jour' of that year only got 29.
Out in the real world, you often find yourself tested without much time to prepare, and far too often in fairly unfamiliar areas. If students are properly taught, and prepared well, these exams won't be the total stressors they are held to be. And they will prepare students for real life.
All of the substantive discussions of federal efforts in education are "squirrel!" for one simple reason. The Constitution gives no authority to the Feds over education in any way, shape or form. The sophistry enabling federal bureaucratic bribing state education authorities with grants and other monies and withholding them if the states don't do what the Feds want is entirely wrong. And, just between you and me and the tens of thousands of kids who haven't learned to read or write or do simple math over the last 40 years, the state governments are not doing very well either. Get all the governments out of education because the mixture of politics and doing anything constructive is a null set; can't happen. Want to do away with all the world's deserts? Put sand under the government's control. Look at the history of Soviet Russia and ask yourself how close we are to shooting dissidents.
Why are the results of most standardized tests unreliable? 50 years ago if a teacher or test monitor told a test taker to try their very best on a test that meant nothing to the future of a student, most probably did what they were told. That is not true today. Are there an equal number of students in every class in every school that do not try their hardest. Of course not, but those who rely on standardized test scores assume that to be the case. To rely on such scores for any part of a teacher's pay is simply unfair.