Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Seattle Times: Should the teacher have refused to give the WASL?

Heck yes. The real villian in this story is OSPI Terry Bergson, the Wicked Witch of the WASL. Dump her in november and elect Richard Semler.
How can you require all students to attend high school regardless of intelligence, but then require all them to perform at a high level? WASL was set at 10th grade because it was part of Marc Tucker's plan (and he's still promoting it) to end high school at grade 10 like they do in Europe when grade 12 is the US standard.WASL is designed to pass students ready for a 4 year university, but 25% of Running Start kids who already take college courses fail WASL.
Conservatives should know that WASL is a STANDARDS BASED test that takes everything we know about a valid test such as one correct answer, computer scoring, and grading on a curve, and doing the exact opposite. Liberals should know that WASL punishes special education, minority and poor students whose parents can't afford museum memberships or don't have masters degrees. Only corporatists who believe total quality management can produce defect-free students as if they are produced by a factory support WASL, and most support is by the Partnership for Education which was created to promote WASL with corporate funds. WASL is not conservative. WASL is not progressive.
Government can only require students attend school, they should not require a "high" level of performance, that's the key flaw of "outcomes based education" where you decide an "outcome" of high tests scores for everyone, but have not curriculum or method for students to achieve it except no-math math programs that drive parents crazy.
MOre craziness is in store for the classroom based assessment for all the other subjects. 5th graders have to write musical notation and read sheet music by sight, something music majors don't have to do. 10th graders are supposed to draw a portrait of their friend in cubist (sample Picasso is woman with top and bottom face in different directions with nipples showing through shirt) or surrealist (sample is lipstick on a garage door) styles. 1997 4th grade WASL had half of problems at high school level or higher that baffled this MIT graduate - and now they killed it because enough people realized it was stupid.
WASL was part of 1209 outcome based education bill, but Certificate of Mastery was killed because it was stupid, the original EALR fuzzy Math Standards are being dumped because they were stupid. Only the WASL remains to be killed because it's stupid.
Terry Bergeson and WASL supporters can't tell Sheep from Shinola, but the people can. Nobody wants WASL except people with a vested interest in making "reform" the primary job of education rather than making sure all kids get an appropriate education.

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