Friday, February 28, 2014

The Failure of Test-Based Accountability



The Failure of Test-Based Accountability



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anti-testing groups form alliance to bring sanity to education policy

We've really got to win this one, folks.
-Angela

Anti-testing groups form alliance to bring sanity to education policy

By Valerie Strauss, Updated: February 21 at 6:00 am

With resistance to standardized test-obsessed school reform growing around the country, three dozen local, state and national organizations and individuals have now banded together in an alliance to expand efforts to bring sanity to education policy.

The alliance, which is called Testing Resistance and Reform Spring, will support a range of public education and mobilizing tactics — including boycotts, opt-out campaigns, rallies and legislation — in its effort to stop the high-stakes use of standardized tests, to reduce the number of standardized exams, and to replace multiple-choice tests with performance-based assessments and school work. The alliance will help activists in different parts of the country connect through a new Web site that offers resources for activists, including fact sheets and guides on how to hold events to get out their message.

The emergence of the alliance represents a maturing of the grassroots testing resistance that has been building for several years locally in states , including Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois.  Though many supporters of Barack Obama expected him to end the standardized testing obsession of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind when Obama was first elected president, many now say that the Obama administration has gone beyond the excesses of NCLB to inappropriately make high-stakes standardized tests the key measure of achievement by students, teachers, principals and schools.

Assessment experts say that standardized test scores are not a reliable or valid way to make high stakes decisions about the effectiveness of teachers or the achievement of students, but education policymakers have ignored these warnings for years. This has led to situations that are nothing short of preposterous, such as teachers being evaluated on the test scores of students they never had

Meanwhile, the emphasis on testing has led to an explosion of tests being given to kids; for example, fourth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public Schools have to take 33 standardized tests mandated by the district or state this school year. It is this reality that has fueled the resistance.

The founding members of the alliance are the Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest, as well as Parents Across America, United Opt Out, Network for Public Education, and Save Our Schools.

Prominent educators, activists and bloggers who are partners in the alliance are:
Wayne Au, associate professor, University of Washington
Anthony Cody, teacher, blogger
Nikhil Goyal, student, activist
Jesse Hagopian, teacher, Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington
Deborah Meier
Diane Ravitch
Angela Valenzuela, professor, U-Texas, Austin
George Wood, superintendent, Federal Hocking Local Schools, Stewart, Ohio

Organizations that are alliance partners are:

National 
Coalition for Essential Schools
HispanEduca
K-12 News Network
National Latino/a Education Research and Policy (NLERAP)
Rethinking Schools


State and Local
Change the Stakes (New York)
Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE)
Citizens for Public Schools (Massachussetts)
Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) (Kentucky)
MecklenburgACTS.org (North Carolina)
More Than a Score (Chicago)
New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE)
Opt Out Orlando (Florida)
Parents United for Responsible Education (Chicago)
ReThinking Testing Midhudson Region (New York)
Social Equality Educators (Seattle)
Students 4 Our School (Denver)
SWside Parents Alliance (Chicago)
Teacher Activist Group – TAG Boston
Texas Center for Education Policy
Time Out from Testing (New York)
Youth Organizers for the Now Generation (YOUNG) (Boston)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Do Chicanos Have an Inferiority Complex?

I credit the late Octavio Paz for initiating a high-profile conversation about Chicano/a identity, but there's a lot to this article and his analysis that really needs to get unpacked in terms of why Chicano/as hate Paz so much.  For starters, blanket characterizations of any kind about a people are harmful and disparaging and ultimately, untenable as a claim.
He "others" Mexican Americans and in so doing, not only creates a distance between Mexicans and Mexican Americans/Chianos, but his positionality as a member of Mexico's elite situates him and members of his class as “above” Mexican Americans upon whom they look down.
I also learned today from Dr. Gilbert Gonzalez that the word, “Chicano” is used in print as far back as 1926 appearing, for example, in Las Aventuras De Don Chipote and Cuando Los Pericos Mamen.

Another problem is his characterizing us as "hijos de la chingada,"  as progeny of the great rape—of Doña Marina/La Malinche by Hernán Cortés.  He can be an hijo de la chingada if he likes.  Us Chicanas love, adore, and respect our mother without whom we would not exist.  

A final point.  What I do not like about either Stavans or Amy Chua and Jeb Rubenfeld’s hypotheses about immigrant achievement is not only again, the very broad strokes they take for, in effect, negatively categorizing large categories of humanity in disparaging ways which is neither scientific nor uplifting, but they also place so much of the onus for underachievement on our communities rather than on the culturally chauvinistic and oppressive system of schooling that is more the norm than the exception.

Never mind Mexican Americans’ deep and very conflicted history with their struggles related to bilingual education, immigration, high-stakes testing, tracking, (hyper)segregation, school finance, and poverty, against a broader panorama of historical marginalization in politics, society, and the economy.  

 To psychologize Chicanos/as and Latinos/as, generally in a reductive manner commits the same symbolic violence that all of these systems and institutions mete out in a casual, normative manner that is unfortunately, the air that we so regularly breathe that it, too, becomes invisible—not only to those in power, but also to ourselves.

-Angela

Do Chicanos Have an Inferiority Complex?

  by

 010006-MexAmerican 

The etymology of Chicano is surrounded in mystery. I’ve seen its roots traced to Nahuatl, specifically to the term Mexica, as the people encountered by Hernán Cortéz and his soldiers conquering Tenochtitlán in the early quarter of the 16th century where known. In Spanish, the word is pronounced Meshika: the x functions as sh. Mexico, as a nation, opts to look at the Mexicas as their defining ancestors. Curiously, when first registering the name, the missionaries spelled it Méjico, with a j. It transitioned to an x when the country ceded from Spain, becoming independent in 1810.

In any case, Chicano might be an abbreviation of Mexicano, although Chicanos prefer to see themselves not as Mexico’s children but as its ancestors. According to legend, Aztlán, their Xanadu, located in either present-day northern Mexico or somewhere in the American Southwest, or maybe as far as Oregon, was the place where the Mexicans originated in their journey for a promised land, which they ultimately found in a region of five lakes where Mexico City was built. In their mythology, an eagle sitting on a rock in a lake, devouring a serpent—the symbol at the center of the Mexican flag—was a divine sign for them to settle there.

My research suggests that the original appearance of Chicano in print is traced to 1947, in a story by Mario Suárez published in Arizona Quarterly. I have also seen other etymologies for Chicano. The word acquired fresh currency in the sixties, during the civil-rights era. Some people spell it Xicano. (Curiously, I’ve never come across a Chicano calling himself Aztleño, meaning “dweller of Aztlán.”) On several occasions, I’ve seen the word connected with chicanery: according to Merriam-Webster, “deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry.” In this regard, the word suggests a double conscience, an idea—linked to W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk (1903)—that characterizes, broadly understood, the identity of minority people. Daniel Chacón has a collection of stories titled Chicano Chicanery (2000).

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of Octavio Paz’s birth. Mexico’s only Nobel laureate for literature, Paz was an extraordinary hombre de letras: a poet, an essayist, a publisher, a diplomat, as well as “a philanthropic ogre,” a phrase he used in one of his numerous books to talk about the role of the state in modern society but which some of us, his admirers, prefer as a description of him. Paz’s ego was inflammatory: a true cosmopolitan, he was ready to devour you if you displayed any criticism of his oeuvre. In any case, arguably Paz’s most famous book is The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950), a monograph about the Mexican psyche. Influence by Alfred Adler and other late psychoanalysts, Paz used his considerable intellectual talents to offer incisive opinions on his own country’s ethos.

The initial chapter of The Labyrinth of Solitude is called “The Pachuco and Other Extremes.” Awarded a Guggenheim fellowship, Paz lived in Los Angeles in the forties, where he was exposed to Mexican-American culture. Put succinctly, he found it appalling. Pachuco was a social type of youth: defiant, dressed up in a zoot suit with a hat, and embracing a distinct jargon. The ubiquitous comedian Tin Tan still personifies the pachuco. The best portrait I know of the era is Luis Valdez’s play Zoot Suit (1979), about the zoot-suit riots of 1943.

Anyway, Chicanos hate Paz. Thus it seems unlikely, to me at least, that they will celebrate his centennial. For they believe Paz misrepresented them. In Paz’s view, pachucos—e.g., a particular type of Chicano—suffered from an overabundance of culture. And, even more scandalously, they were overwhelmed by an inferiority complex.

Is Paz right? In other chapters, he describes Mexicans as also suffering from that complex. Bizarrely, among Mexicans he is an icon, whereas among Chicanos he is Satan.

A student of mine from Los Angeles asked me that question. She wondered if the etymology of Chicano, a word the younger generation hesitates to adopt (they call themselves Mexican-American), might come from chico, not taken as child but as small. My student called my attention to Presumed Incompetent (2012), a collection of academic essays edited by Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs et al., about the plight of working-class women of color in academe. My student identified with the sections on Chicanas.

The question she raised, I said, comes at a time when the baggage behind “the inferiority complex” is being reconceptualized. It used to be that an inferiority complex was a defect. Nowadays, things are different—especially in the context of the debate surrounding “the triple package.” The thesis, made by the wife and husband writers Amy Chua and Jeb Rubenfeld, is that certain immigrant minorities (Asians, Jews, Hindus, etc.), on the road to success, exhibit three characteristics: a superiority as well as an inferiority complex, plus traction to make it to the top. The issue, of course, is why some minority groups display this traction and not others.

I will leave the answer to psychologists. In any case, since ancestral times Mexicans—and I am one—have nurtured an inferiority complex. Chicanos do  too. Is the name Chicano pushing them down, making them small? Can it be turned into an engine of success?

It all boils down, my student said, to “the colonial mentality”: Chicanos feel inferior because they have been taught to feel that way. But Hindus were also subalterns of empire and, depending on the region, so were Asians. Not to mention Jews, whose plight as slaves in Egypt is recalled every year during the Passover Seder.

My response: Etymology isn’t fate. Actually, unless one consents, fate isn’t fate either. After all, having a double consciousness is better than having only one.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

The End of Snow?

Excuse the pun, but this is a chilling read.  

It IS amazing that there is not more reaction against the workings behind these shifts.  The writer makes the point that while the large oil companies are easy to blame, a lack of reaction is reducible to ignorance and complacency.

The truth is, it is too late for all of that. Greening the ski industry is commendable, but it isn’t nearly enough. Nothing besides a national policy shift on how we create and consume energy will keep our mountains white in the winter — and slow global warming to a safe level.
This is no longer a scientific debate. It is scientific fact. The greatest fear of most climate scientists is continued complacency that leads to a series of natural climatic feedbacks — like the melting of the methane-rich permafrost of Arctic Canada.

This is certainly a challenge that the next generation will have to tackle much better than we have managed to do in ours.  

Wouldn't it be amazing if our educational systems embraced a kind of critical and social justice STEM approach that would graduate cadres upon cadres of youth that can take on this multi-faceted problem?  

Of course, we need our teachers to be well prepared to teach this, as well, so this is also a responsibility that should be equally shouldered by our teacher preparation programs of all types.

Surely, there are places within our K-12 system where this is occurring, but this really needs to be a new default in science-based instruction that is itself interdisciplinary and policy oriented.

Short of this, our descendants are destined to a world without snow—and all that attaches to that, as well.

-Angela

P.S.  Check out this equally concerning NYTimes piece with respect to  the significant drought in California's Central Valley  Titled, "The Dust Bowl Returns."
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/10/opinion/the-dust-bowl-returns.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140210&_r=0

SundayReview | Opinion




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Slopes were closed last month at Fichtelberg mountain in Oberwiesenthal, Germany. Jan Woitas/European Pressphoto Agency

OVER the next two weeks, hundreds of millions of people will watch Americans like Ted Ligety and Mikaela Shiffrin ski for gold on the downhill alpine course. Television crews will pan across epic vistas of the rugged Caucasus Mountains, draped with brilliant white ski slopes. What viewers might not see is the 16 million cubic feet of snow that was stored under insulated blankets last year to make sure those slopes remained white, or the hundreds of snow-making guns that have been running around the clock to keep them that way.

Officials canceled two Olympic test events last February in Sochi after several days of temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and a lack of snowfall had left ski trails bare and brown in spots. That situation led the climatologist Daniel Scott, a professor of global change and tourism at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, to analyze potential venues for future Winter Games. His thought was that with a rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit possible by 2100, there might not be that many snowy regions left in which to hold the Games. He concluded that of the 19 cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics, as few as 10 might be cold enough by midcentury to host them again. By 2100, that number shrinks to 6.

The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, and as a result, snow is melting. In the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere. Europe has lost half of its Alpine glacial ice since the 1850s, and if climate change is not reined in, two-thirds of European ski resorts will be likely to close by 2100.

Porter Fox is the features editor at Powder magazine and the author of “Deep: The Story of Skiing and the Future of Snow.”

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A Presidency Revisited

This interview with former Stanford President Gerhard Casper brings back memories of the contentious 80s at Stanford over the Western Civilization curriculum.  Note: I was there from 1983-1990 as a doctoral student in Sociology. 

 Here is an interesting overview of this debate and the hugely important context within which it occurred by PBS <http://www.pbs.org/shattering/lindenberger.html>.  

Although Donald Kennedy was the president during this time period, the consequences were particularly felt during the Casper administration.  When I think of how horribly this administration was to our legendary and heroic leaders at Stanford—the late Tony and  Cecilia Burciaga—were treated, this memory is a very painful one for so many of us.  

Among other things, this interview with former President Casper shows exactly how liberal individualism can align to reactionary politics and agendas.  This whole debate of course set off a firestorm of reaction from which we have largely not recovered, in my view.  Whole language instruction virtually died and phonics-based instruction came in with a ferocity.

Although high-stakes testing was slowly evolving in Texas and nationally during this same time period,  it is safe to say that this was welcomed by the right because of the ways that the system structured out the deeper kinds of conversations, themes and issues that the multiculturalism movement was, and has been, about.

Fortunately, here in Texas, our historians like Dr. Emilio Zamora, Keith Erekson and others are weighing in on the high school social studies standards at the State Board of Education level and making the basic argument that without this knowledge of subaltern histories—a systemic absence of which the Western Civ debate at Stanford was impactful—students are neither well-prepared for college, nor for life in an increasingly globalized world.  The different contributors to the Erekson anthology
http://www.keitherekson.com/books/politics-and-the-history-curriculum/

collectively not only present the intricacies of the debate, they also provide an anatomy of the ideological strands that unmask many of the hidden beliefs, ideologies, and interests that advocate for a highly conservative status quo.

All told, things are a changing nevertheless here in Texas.

-Angela



Insight


A Presidency Revisited


About to publish a memoir, Gerhard Casper discusses current issues with an eye on the rearview mirror.

Photo: Steve Gladfelter
Former Stanford president Gerhard Casper is a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and a professor of law and, by courtesy, political science. His book The Winds of Freedom: Addressing Challenges to the University, to be published by Yale University Press in February, comprises selected speeches he made about contentious issues during his presidency (1992 to 2000) accompanied by his current thoughts on their context. Stanford recently interviewed Casper (an abridged transcript is in the print magazine); an excerpt from the book follows.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

The outcome of this case will surely have ripple effects for teacher tenure.  Quotes from within:

“It’s yet another example of not rolling up your sleeves and dealing with a problem, but instead finding a scapegoat,” Ms. Weingarten said. “They are not suing about segregation or funding or property tax systems — all the things you really need to get kids a level playing field. They want to strip teachers of any rights to a voice.”

State education laws across the country are changing. School districts in 29 states use poor effectiveness as grounds for dismissal, according to a report released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank that tracks teacher policies. Just five years ago, no states allowed student performance to be considered in teachers’ evaluations, said Kate Walsh, the executive director of the center. Now, 20 states require such data.

-Angela


Fight Over Effective Teachers Shifts to Courtroom

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Some of the students who are suing the State of California over tenure for teachers walked to a news conference this week outside Superior Court in Los Angeles. Monica Almeida/The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — They have tried and failed to loosen tenure rules for teachers in contract talks and state legislatures. So now, a group of rising stars in the movement to overhaul education employment has gone to court.

In a small, wood-paneled courtroom here this week, nine public school students are challenging California’s ironclad tenure system, arguing that their right to a good education is violated by job protections that make it too difficult to fire bad instructors. But behind the students stand a Silicon Valley technology magnate who is financing the case and an all-star cast of lawyers that includes Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general of the United States, who recently won the Supreme Court case that effectively overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Children have the right to access good education and an effective teacher regardless of their circumstances,” said David F. Welch, the telecommunications entrepreneur who spent millions of his own dollars to create Students Matter, the organization behind the lawsuit. The group describes itself as a national nonprofit dedicated to sponsoring litigation of this type, and the outcome in California will provide the first indication of whether it can succeed.
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John E. Deasy, the schools superintendent of Los Angeles. Monica Almeida/The New York Times
At issue is a set of rules that grant permanent employment status to California teachers after 18 months on the job, require a lengthy procedure to dismiss a teacher, and set up a seniority system in which the teachers most recently hired must be the first to lose their jobs when layoffs occur, as they have regularly in recent years.

Teachers’ unions, which hold powerful sway among lawmakers here, contend that the protections are necessary to ensure that teachers are not fired unfairly. Without these safeguards, the unions say, the profession will not attract new teachers.

“Tenure is an amenity, just like salary and vacation, that allows districts to recruit and retain teachers despite harder working conditions, pay that hasn’t kept pace and larger class sizes,” James M. Finberg, a lawyer for the California teachers’ unions, said this week in his opening statement in court.
The monthlong trial promises to be a closely watched national test case on employment laws for teachers, one of the most contentious debates in education. Many school superintendents and advocates across the country call such laws detrimental and anachronistic, and have pressed for the past decade for changes, with mixed success. Tenure for teachers has been eliminated in three states and in Washington, D.C., and a handful of states prohibit seniority as a factor in teacher layoffs. But in many large states with urban school districts, including California and New York, efforts to push through such changes in the legislature have repeatedly failed.

While several lawsuits demanding more money for schools have succeeded across the country, the California case is the most sweeping legal challenge claiming that students are hurt by employment laws for teachers. The case also relies on a civil rights argument that so far is untested: that poor and minority students are denied equal access to education because they are more likely to have “grossly ineffective” teachers.

Judge Rolf Michael Treu, of Los Angeles County Superior Court, will decide the nonjury trial. His ruling will almost certainly be appealed to the State Supreme Court.

Witnesses are expected to explain many of their basic assumptions about how to create quality schools.

The first witness for the plaintiffs was John E. Deasy, the superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District and a staunch opponent of tenure rules and “last in, first out” seniority for teachers. Mr. Deasy testified that attempts to dismiss ineffective teachers can cost $250,000 to $450,000 and include years of appeals and legal proceedings. Often, he said, the district is forced to decide that the time and money would be too much to spend on a case with an unclear outcome, in part because a separate governing board can reinstate the teachers. Such rules make it impossible not to place ineffective teachers at schools with high poverty rates, he told the court.
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Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Philip Scott Andrews for The New York Times
“I absolutely do not believe it’s in the best interest of students whatsoever,” Mr. Deasy said of the layoff policy. “The decision about who should be in front of students should be the most effective teacher. These statutes prohibit that from being a consideration at all. By virtue of that, it cannot be good for students.”

Teachers’ unions contend that such job protections help schools keep the best teachers and recruit new ones to a job that is often exhausting, challenging and low paid. Mr. Finberg, the lawyer for the unions, said in court that the fact that Mr. Deasy has increased the number of ineffective teachers dismissed from the classroom — to about 100 of the district’s 30,000 teachers — suggests that the laws are working.

The plaintiffs’ legal team, from the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, includes not only Mr. Olson, who served as solicitor general under President George W. Bush, but also Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for Apple in its antitrust case on e-book pricing. The lawyers and public relations firm behind Students Matter previously teamed to overturn the California ballot measure against same-sex marriage and say this case could have a similar ripple effect across the country. Among the boldface names siding publicly with the plaintiffs is Antonio R. Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, who joined them in a news conference outside the courthouse this week.

“The case has the potential to have really broad and important implications not just for California,” said Michelle A. Rhee, the former Washington schools chancellor who now runs Students First, an advocacy group that works to elect leaders who support changing the employment laws for teachers. “In an ideal world you would want policies to be passed in the legislature, but in California there was no movement on that. I think in this case they were tired of waiting.”

Teachers’ unions nationwide have fought changes in employment laws, contending that their members must be protected from capricious or vengeful administrators. In Colorado, where a sweeping law in 2010 created a new system to evaluate teachers, the unions are suing over a provision that lets principals decide whether to hire veteran teachers who lost jobs because of budget cuts or drops in enrollment.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a telephone interview that the California case echoes the fights she had when she led the teachers’ union in New York, and called the lawsuit “worse than troubling.”

“It’s yet another example of not rolling up your sleeves and dealing with a problem, but instead finding a scapegoat,” Ms. Weingarten said. “They are not suing about segregation or funding or property tax systems — all the things you really need to get kids a level playing field. They want to strip teachers of any rights to a voice.”

State education laws across the country are changing. School districts in 29 states use poor effectiveness as grounds for dismissal, according to a report released Thursday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington-based think tank that tracks teacher policies. Just five years ago, no states allowed student performance to be considered in teachers’ evaluations, said Kate Walsh, the executive director of the center. Now, 20 states require such data.

“We have really seen mountains move in some places — the trend in the country has been toward meaningful ways to evaluate teachers and to use that evaluation to make tenure decisions,” Ms. Walsh said in an interview. “But I don’t think anyone has figured out how to implement them particularly well yet.”

Ian Lovett contributed reporting.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

NCLB co-author says he never anticipated federal law would force testing obsession

Rep. George Miller from California is claiming innocence.  How can he when we had just come out of a federal court case on high-stakes testing here in Texas and we learned unequivocally that the system produced a disparate impact on Latino/as, African Americans, special education children, and English language learners?

The trial produced ample evidence, as well, about where this system was headed.  

Plus, Dr. Linda McNeil and I visited with his office staff before the passage of NCLB—and many other offices from the Texas Congressional delegation. 

The late Senator Paul Wellstone was a fierce, very vocal opponent during this time period, as well.  His office, especially Jill Morningstar, was instrumental in educating many offices about the expected harmful effects of this law.  Boy, was his death ever untimely.

With all of these offices, we shared evidence from Texas that this law would marginalize both students and curriculum—and most especially, children of color and the poor.  

This law was nevertheless about ideology based on harmful assumptions about teachers and kids, while also appealing to the "managerial mindset," those thinking that a stick was needed to force teachers to teach and the kids to learn.  To quote Jonathan Kozol, never mind the "savage inequalities" of our schools.  And never mind the opinion of professionals—not all of them racist or classist—as he actually suggests in this interview, albeit obliquely.  

But that is exactly how they got the liberal vote—this law would make white teachers teach Black and Brown kids, regardless.  No excuses!  And guess what?  We not only do not have to invest in education, but we can even threaten taking away their resources with this law. 

How offensive, cruel, and fantastically convenient.

-Angela

Rep. George Miller, D-Contra Costa, visited with EdSource Today staff shortly after announcing his retirement after 40 years in Congress. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, visited with EdSource Today staff shortly after announcing his retirement after 40 years in Congress. Credit: Lillian Mongeau, EdSource
Rep. George Miller, a leading architect of the No Child Left Behind legislation, says he never anticipated that the landmark education law would ignite the testing obsession that engulfed the nation’s schools, leading to what some have charged is a simplistic “drill and kill” approach that subverts real instruction.
EdSource sat down with Miller, D-Martinez, last week for a lengthy and wide-ranging conversation on his accomplishments, philosophy and hopes for the future of public education. The Contra Costa County congressman, who served as chair or ranking minority member of the House Education Committee and the Workforce Committee since 1997, announced earlier this month that after 40 years in the House of Representatives, he would not seek re-election when his current term expires.

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