The newest fad in education — and why some teachers find it troubling

This article is a couple years old, but it’s a great overview, and highlights a lot of concerns brought up by parents. And the comments add to it.

There are two unwritten assumptions that are constant from the beginning of NCLB and carry through to this new version. Teachers are not trusted to make judgments about what students learn, how they learn it, or how learning is assessed. Assessment is defined as the external monitoring of the work inside the classroom. The second assumption is that data and technology must be instrumental in whatever process is devised. The main innovation here is the more thorough and intrusive penetration of the classroom via computers capable of monitoring learning.

Both of these assumptions are unsupported by any evidence or track record, in terms of their ability to enhance learning.

The flat or declining NAEP scores demonstrate that external accountability systems have failed to lift performance. Repeated experiments with technology-based instruction have failed to show any advantage. Virtual charter schools, the ultimate extension of this model, have been shown to be virtually useless.

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