Thursday, October 22, 2015
THOUGHTS ABOUT EDUCATION
I did write that the BOE election was farcical. Why so? Of the four candidates three are on a slate sponsored by the Campbells who have controlled the BOE with opaque transparency for too many years.
That husband and wife are serving on the same small board may not be illegal but it certainly creates a power block which is augmented by other members who are alleged to have financial ties with the Campbells. Thus a small group has control of appointments and selection of vendors for the element of the city that has the greatest dollar expenditures.
Since for the first time in memory a JG slate is absent in this so called nonpartisan election one can only wonder if there is a relationship with the employing of Williamson.
Although the high school and others have been removed from the critical list; there could be a question if the dominated board has influenced the variety options and quality of education offered Plainfield students.
Some answers can be found in the 4 year graduation rate and college acceptances under scholarship to upper level colleges.
That would be more revealing than the local PARCC scores. Too often standardized teasing leads to excessive time spent on preparing for the test and not on the basic curriculum. Thus the score may be meaningless in the actual measurement of knowledge.
This is reflected in many cases where a certifying body conducts an inspection. In hospitals accreditation comes from the JCAHO which will conduct a multiple days inspection every few years. For days hours on end derived from previous experience and/or information from other institutions previously inspected are spent preparing for that inspection. The quirks of individual inspectors are focal points of the preparation, and reality may be illusionary with a return to old habits as soon as the inspection is over. There are similar patterns in standardized testing
The format of the testing methodology has varied over the years and this new one is supposed to better reflect the resulted from the core curriculum. In the eyes of its sponsors it does so, however there are too many educators who feel otherwise.
There need be more openness from the school system, not only from the education level but also from the Board. Will we get it is doubtful.