Question Authoritarianism

Yong Zhao warns that America is on a suicidal quest for educational excellence…

zhaoEduShyster: I have to start by paraphrasing my hero, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: why can’t we have China’s education system for a day? 

Zhao: Because the Chinese system is not a system that you want to copy. I started thinking about writing this book a decade ago, after No Child Left Behind. I remember thinking *I can’t believe that the US is going to abandon what has made it a good country so far in order to try to copy a system that has been proven ineffective in producing a modern economy.* After a decade, it’s getting worse and worse, not just in education but in the rise in the glorification of authoritarianism in other domains. That’s how you end up with writers like Friedman asking *why can’t we be China for a day?* Every few decades people begin to question democracy because it isn’t as efficient as authoritarianism. On the one hand we condemn authoritarianism but at the same time we admire its actions. Continue reading →

This Is Not a Test

The interview with the José Vilson

this-is-not-a-test-cover-3bEduShyster: Your new book, This is Not a Test, has as its subtitle *a new narrative on race, class and education.* I inhaled the book over the course of a weekend, but I couldn’t figure out what the new narrative was. And then it finally dawned on me that you, José Luis Vilson, are the new narrative.

José Vilson: That would be it. There’s a lack of nuance in all facets of what we talk about when we talk about education. So I took a different approach. I tried to address education through narrative and stories, which I think is way more powerful than just coming out and saying *I don’t like this crap.* Continue reading →

Test the World

The coming global testing boondoggle
It’s a stark numerical conundrum: there are only so many standardized tests that boys and girls in the United States can be made to take. If only there were children in some other part of the world who could benefit from a diet rich in assessments and robust in metric… Great news, reader! The hundred of millions of children who live in developing nations, including the world’s poorest countries, represent the next great testing boondoggle frontier of measurability. Inhabiting a little known region known as the *global data gap,* we’ve never before known what they don’t know. But that’s about to change. Continue reading →

John King’s Gift to Parents

John King just gave New York parents the perfect spark to fuel the boycott fire.


By Sue Altman

John King cancelled a town hall style meeting in Garden City, NY this week where he was scheduled to discuss policy around testing and education reform. Following a raucous meeting in Poughkeepsie, King accused “special interests” of “manipulating parents” and called off the show. Continue reading →

How 2 Talk 2 Ur Kids About Testing

It doesn’t get better…
That smell in the air can only mean one thing: it’s pre-testing time, which means that the real deal, high-stakes testing season, is just around the corner. But how should parents explain to their kids that these tests are really important, and also that the tests are hard because life is hard and if you think that filling in bubbles with a #2 pencil is hard, just wait until you get your first 21st century job with your new skillz? Fortunately you and your young test taker are not alone. The New York City Department of Education has helpfully prepared this helpful guide so that you can help your elementary school student prepare for the intensity and excitement of test time. Note: this is a sample of actual helpful tips merely copied and pasted from the helpful guide. Continue reading →