Thursday, July 07, 2011

How to fix "Most children left behind"

As any reader of mine knows, I am not a big fan of the government's schools, and this sad event from Atlanta makes it ever more clear.  More or less, the Atlanta schools hired a "turnaround artist" to improve test scores and thus avoid a large number of their schools being "reformed" (and all personnel fired or reassigned).

The results are familiar to anyone who has ever worked for a company that has "turnaround artists" in the executive ranks.  The turnaround artist threatens his subordinates with firing if they don't "get something done," and of course the subordinates generally "do something".  More or less, this means that they solve the immediate problem without considering the long term effects of what they're doing.  In this case, the long term effect is that nobody trusts Atlanta test scores anymore, or the schools in general, since the principals and teachers were fudging the tests.

And of course, the next effect is that the turnaround artist, having achieved "great things," goes on to "greater things" before the damage is seen.  So how do we end this?

Simple; don't allow teachers to administer the tests, but rather have an outside testing service come in to do so.  Yes, there would be an expense, but every ISO certified company knows full well that their certification must be approved by an outside vendor, and that vendor will lose their certification to issue ISO certificates if they allow clowns to pass.  It's time for the schools to learn about basic principles of corporate governance.

And, of course, I hope that companies realize what they're getting into when they hire turnaround artists, too.

Addendum; see Gino's comment for how it is likely that even this plan could be circumvented by the NEA.  A parent's protection against the NEA is not this, but rather to take a look at whether their child can read, write, and reckon.


Gino said...

it would only be a matter of time before the outside testing groups became state compensated, then unionised, and then co-opted by the other union.

Bike Bubba said...

True. In industry, the process is usually protected by having people come in from out of state. There is probably some corruption, but it's a lot harder to tweak, since you don't have people getting glared at in the grocery store.