Monday, December 17, 2007

Sparring over Obama's education advice

(Barack Obama at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.)

Barack Obama has named Standford education research heavyweight Linda Darling-Hammond as his education adviser. And not everybody is happy about it.

Blogger Alexander Russo over at This Week in Education points to some cranky comments by an Obama fan who thinks Darling-Hammond is a step backward for Obama's chances of proposing serious reform.

The good news for Alexander is that Darling-Hammond apparently checks in at This Week. She sends him a rebuttal of the criticism.

This post also appears at my education blog, Get on the Bus.

(Image credit: Iowa Politics Blog)

1 comment:

Eric said...

Linda Darling Hammond argued in New York that the goal of more informed voters casting more thoughtful ballots is supported by higher pass rates on the Regents Language Arts Exam. On August 13, 2007 she cosigned a letter implying that multiple measures encourage "the use of performance assessments which would focus teaching and learning on the higher-order thinking skills our democracy and economy require." But her sworn testimony implies the Regents Language Arts Exam does the same:

Q Dr. Darling-Hammond, based on your analysis of the regents examinations, is it your opinion that a student that graduates from the New York City Public Schools with a regents diploma would be capable of comprehending the charter revision proposal that is before us?

A I think there would be a very high likelihood that a student who had passed the Regents exam, this one based on the new standard, would be able to handle this kind of text and understand it.

Seems to me this argues for higher standards (Regents Language Arts Exam versus Regents Competency Test), rather than multiple measures. Apparently, Dr. Hammond is willing to give advice during NCLB reauthorization that differs from her sworn expert testimony (although both statements are technically reconcilable). I wonder what version Obama will receive: the "here's how we can safeguard the integrity American Democracy" version or the "multiple measures" version. Obama would be wise to ensure someone shares the version compatible with his oath of office.

On the bright side, Obama hasn't pursued an educational agenda so outrageous that mainstream media would be embarrassed to report on it.