Ed Policy Schizophrenia

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A great press release from the Mass Department of Education notes:

For the second time, Massachusetts has outscored every other state in the country on three of four National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exams, and has tied for first on the fourth, Governor Patrick announced at the Aborn Elementary School in Lynn on Tuesday.The only other time one state has ever ranked first on all four NAEP exams was when Massachusetts outscored the nation for the first time in 2005.

So the grand bargain of the 1993 Ed reform Act (more money, more accountability and more innovation) is working. But the press release suggests that the administration’s “left” hand does not know what the “right” hand is doing. Makes you wonder how they clapped at the Lynn event this morning.

Governor Patrick spoke of the “whole” child, which folks from FairTest admit is code for getting rid of, or significantly weakening, standardized testing and accountability:

“Our goal is to build on that success. To reach that goal, we must work to educate the whole child from the time they start learning before kindergarten, through grade 12 and higher education, and continue that effort in work force development and lifelong learning.”

House Speaker DiMasi was strong on MCAS and continuing the course of reform laid out in 1993:

“These results show yet again that Massachusetts students can outperform their peers from around the country and the students and teachers should be congratulated for their hard work… Our successes on NAEP and on the MCAS exams show that, through reform and steady improvement, we have built a solid foundation in Massachusetts. As we reach higher, we must build upon that platform to help our students compete even better in the increasingly global economy.”

Board of Education Chair S. Paul Reville stumped for MCAS and high expectations (hopefully meaning accountability and support for schools to turn around failing schools):

“These extraordinary results validate the recent MCAS improvements and serve as proof positive that Massachusetts’ long-standing reform strategy of setting and holding to high expectations for all students is right on target,” said Board of Education Chairman Paul Reville.

Acting Education Commissioner Jeffrey Nellhaus highlighted the need for continuity and MCAS:

“This state’s top ranking on NAEP for the second consecutive administration is a wonderful testimony to the hard work, commitment to success and determination of our students and teachers,” he said. “These scores reconfirm the progress we’re seeing on MCAS, reinforcing that our students are making significant strides in reading and math.”

Senate President Therese Murray, and Joint Committee on Education Co-Chairs Sen. Robert Antonioni and Rep. Patricia Haddad were mum on the big debate over continuity with what has worked well or burying ourselves in the “whole child” rhetoric.