Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Expert Ideas from Jay Matthews

Jay Matthews, who knows everything there is to know about education, has unleashed yet more brilliance upon us. Personally, after learning the seven myths about KIPP, I thought I'd heard everything there was to know. But there's more.

Jay has seven recommendations:

1. Why can't those darn public schools do what charter schools do? Charter schools are better in every way. Kids need more charter schools. Ask those public schools why they don't do what charter schools do. Jay visited a charter school last week that does what he wants them to do, and this clearly suggests that public schools are not doing it.

2. Stop asking for high averages for kids wanting to enter advanced placement courses. So what if the kids are failing? Clearly what they need is more difficult work. Remediation is a big waste of money, and let the kids not only pull themselves up by their bootstraps, but put them in AP courses. If they fail it must be because they aren't in charter schools.

3. Now that we've dumped low-performing kids into AP classes, we should pay to have them take AP tests. If they fail, it will prove conclusively that our public high schools are failing and that all students without exception should be shipped off to KIPP schools, which Jay wrote a book about.

4. Why the hell are we sending kids to remedial classes in college? After all, we've put them in AP courses in high school whether or not they did well in regular classes. Since we ignored their performance in high school and pushed them on whether or not they were capable, why should we change horses in midstream? Now that we've exposed their unionized public school teachers as blithering incompetents, now that we've sent more kids to KIPP, our job is done. Jay has no facts whatsoever to support his suspicion that it's a good idea, but what the heck, it's never stopped him before.

5. And now that we're on the subject, let's take all the kids who failed placement tests and move them ahead anyway. Jay has a "hunch" that "some professors" might help the kids pass. And what the hell, everyone knows that no one gets frustrated by being in classes for which they're utterly unprepared, and that no one ever drops out and loses a college education for that reason.

6 and 7. Cut off federal funding for colleges that don't follow Jay's suggestions. Some have no research to support their policies. Making policy without facts to back it up is utterly unacceptable. Unless you're Jay Matthews (See step 4).

Personally, I'm thankful we have experts like Bill Gates and Jay Matthews to let us know what's good for us. Every day, when I view the garbage bins from the trailer behind my 250% capacity building, I thank goodness for all the "reforms" these great thinkers have brought to me and my lucky students. In fact, maybe I should stop teaching them English as a second language and just move them into Shakespeare classes. This ESL stuff is probably just some cash cow for people like me, and everyone probably knows English already anyway.
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