Through the Education Lens

Deborah Kenny on Morning Joe: "these types of things cannot be measured by a standardized test."

CJ Westerberg, August 25, 2012 9:19 AM


"You have to empower teachers
and the only way is to have real authentic accountability."

"First of all,
the most important things cannot be measured  - objectively."
(referring to how a student speaks or writes) ". . . these types of things cannot be measured by a standardized test."

- both quotes by Deborah Kenny, responding to question by Scarborough
on how to evaluate teachers most fairly and effectively

Accountability:  The debate continues . . .

Check out clip below from this morning's MSNBC "Morning Joe" special on education.

Deborah Kenny, CEO of Harlem Village Academies joins Randi Weingarten, head of AFT, 
and have a worthwhile discussion on teacher accountability and autonomy.  Here is the time breakdown by minute marks:

3:00 - Weingarten answers what is needed for true reform 
5:00 - Kenny answers same question agreeing with Weingarten but "with a caveat"
6:40 - Kenny lays out how and why our schools are structured to not allow empowerment of teachers and administrators:
"principals cannot lead"   "they are not empowered to lead"

10:00 - Weingarten talks about class size and Scarborough points out that "as a parent, I want my kid in a class of 20, not 40."   Kenny jumps in with another caveat that not every subject needs to have a small class and the school should make those decisions.  For example, reading classes should be small, but others may not need to be - let the teachers make those decisions for more flexibility.

Also a part of the discussion at the introduction is 4th grade Math teacher, Jose Fuentes, a Columbia graduate, who talked about the challenges of increasing parental involvement
and having enough resources in school.   "It's not the kids fault."

I look forward to more convos between Weingarten and Kenny and look forward to reading
Kenny's book, "Born to Rise."  Her philosophy sounds very similar to Finland schools - granting autonomy to teachers while they also receive regular feedback. 

One final riff:   Kenny makes some great points about measuring progress.  Most engaged parents can sense how well their child is learning from how s/he speaks, writes, how engaged s/he is with what s/he is learning, and the progress "seen" and "heard" about their work.  One standardized test score telling us all this?  And we want children not to be afraid of failure? 
To embrace "learning?"  What if a child is a foreign language whiz - how is that measured? 

-C.J. Westerberg

Originally posted March 2012

Related posts The Daily Riff:
Harlem Village Academies: "Morning Joe" Talks About What's Working - Isn't that Refreshing?

Campbell's Law in Education - Test Scores vs. Accountability:  "A society in which decisions are based solely on numbers instead of sound judgement is one in which no one is truly accountable."

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