Monday, July 16, 2007

Who wrote this?

Who wrote this:

[Minnesota Commissioner of Education Alice] Seagren -- and many teachers -- are trying to do right by our kids. But higher standards and harder tests risk higher failure rates. Even the most dedicated educators won't succeed until the rest of us want higher standards and stronger skills more than we want high passing rates and grades.

Spotty, I am going to take a wild guess and say Katherine Kersten, our Katie.

What? You guessed Katie? That's right! But how could you know grasshopper? Katie loves high-stakes testing and the grim prospect of failure for children. She believes that fear is the way to motivate people. That was an un-Katie-like thing for her to write.

It was the phrase "and many teachers" that was the tip off, Spot. You have chronicled Katie's criticisms and smears of teachers and Education Minnesota too often for us not to notice that Katie couldn't bring herself to say simply that "teachers are trying to do right by our kids."

Exactly the point that Spot was going to make grasshopper. You have learned well.

However, today's column does offer the heartening spectacle of Katie being hoist on her own petard. Katie has recently been delivered the news that Minnesota high schoolers are doing pretty well in a high-stakes writing test:

Minnesotans got what seemed like great news on the education front last month. The state Department of Education announced that in 2007, 92 percent of Minnesota 10th-graders and 91 percent of ninth-graders passed a writing test needed to graduate from high school.

Cause for celebration? I must confess to skepticism.

Frankly, Katie, Spot would rather see a little skepticism about the infallibility of the Pope, transubstantiation, and some of the other fairy tales you want to use to govern the rest of us.

But Spot digresses.

It must be distressing for Katie "test 'em until they drop" Kersten to confront a high-stakes test on which kids did well. It runs counter to what Katie, well, knows. The cognitive dissonance must have damn near killed her.

Spot remembers from his animal psychology course that when a person is confronted by attitudes held or behaviors that are in conflict, they have to be resolved, or the brain will explode, leaving its owner a drooling cretin. Here we have 1) high stakes test are good, and 2) Minnesota high schoolers are doing pretty well on a high stakes test. Since Katie knows that high school kids are a bunch of shiftless layabouts, and #2 has to be false, #1 has to be false, too.

As Sigmund Spot might say, Ve see dat za Katie iss villing to dismiss za high-stakes test ven its results are contrary to za basic opinion zat Katie holds. A classic case!

No comments: