I have some news: I am retiring from the PBS NewsHour and Learning Matters.
Public Law 94-142, “The Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975,” passed not long after I began reporting on education, and it became the first issue that I dug into deeply on my weekly NPR series. A lot has happened since then, much of it very positive, which makes the 40th Anniversary an occasion to celebrate–while continuing to search for ways to improve the learning opportunities for kids with special needs.
Because America is committed to testing every child in every subject in order to make sure teachers are doing a good job, the number of high-stakes tests is increasing, and that means that we have to act boldly to eliminate cheating, which, coincidentally, also has been increasing.
I have a modest proposal: Let’s hold Secretary Duncan accountable in the same way that regular classroom teachers are. To help move the process forward, I’m developing a standardized test to be administered to the nearly 4300 employees at the U.S. Department: The “Measuring Arne Duncan’s National Effectiveness with School Systems,” or MADNESS.
Can teaching be a true profession if you can’t take a bathroom break when nature calls?
Has our obsession with beating others worked? Is it working now? Have years and years of “education reform” produced the kinds of schools and students that we are proud of?
Students need to know that adults try and fail and fail and fail–and keep on trying. More than that, they need to experience failure.