Vital to the standardized testing bandwagon is the idea that everything is educationally awful where you are and somehow significantly better where you ain’t. It an idea that really appeals to our self-destructively competitive nature, as well as our immense capacity for guilt and self-loathing. But this isn’t a spiritual or psychological blog, so let’s focus on the education.
The only reason Americans have any knowledge that the country of Finland exists is tied to this idea. Because it sure ain’t because of our geographic skills (which are truly awful compared to those anywhere else, a fact that somewhat cuts into the gist of today’s post, but we move on). Finland had some great scores a few years back on one of the 1,937 standardized tests and everyone started hailing Finland as the Mecca of Education and started saying, “hey, if Finnish elementary schools have pickled herring for school breakfast, we should have pickled herring for school breakfast, etc., etc., etc.,” ad nauseum (or at least until newer scores showed Finnish declines and we moved on to China/Shanghai). One key to any such thinking is the “Shangri-La” dictum that “perfect places must be far away.”
As poorly noted here yesterday, some folks in Albuquerque are hailing findings from the latest of the 1,937 standardized test, the “TUDA,” because we statistically end up on a par with decently far-away places like San Diego, Detroit and Boston. And those places are far away and must be better due to their distance from us, the Ground Zero of Educational Suck (GZES), so YAY! Still, just for grins, let’s take a bit closer look at Boston, as it’s the furthest away in that set of places.
Here’s a quite recent piece by Boston Globe columnist Tom Keane. For those too busy to RTFA, here’s the headline: “Boston Schools Improve, But Not Enough.” For those not so busy, we see many of the same moans, groans and bemoans found in any such column here in ABQ. Keane ends with:
Cheer if you want about the upticks in the latest report card. But it’s like going from an F to a D. No one should be happy.
Hey, we resemble that remark!
The truth is, just about 100% of everywhere resembles that remark. San Diego, too, (let’s leave Detroit out of it this morning…they have enough going on to warrant being troubled educationally) must not be allocating enough funds to pickled herring, so to speak.
It’s a good thing for NCS Pearson, Riverside Publishing and the rest of the Educational-Testing Complex that there isn’t any possible way for people who think their educational system is awful in one place to really compare what people think of the educational system in another place. Such a communication tool would tend to undermine the whole idea. That would be such a pity.
Have a great weekend, everyone…
P.S.: Btw, Charlotte scores highest generally speaking on the TUDA. I hear the pickled herring there is exquisite.