February 7, 2013, 11:54 am
A pointed topos has emerged among English educators in the media in the last few years. It concerns a statement uttered by the educator David Coleman at a gathering of many educators in Albany, hosted by David Steiner, then-Education Commissioner of New York State, in April 2011. At the time, Coleman was the lead architect of the Common Core State Standards, the education effort sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers that set out to draft new standards in mathematics and English language arts from kindergarten to 12th grade. The Common Core standards have evolved into the most sweeping reform of public schooling in many decades, a controversial reform with Coleman himself an object of strong feelings on both sides.
Coleman has since become the head of College Board, and the Common Core standards have been adopted by 45 states and have the full backing of the Obama…
December 12, 2012, 11:45 am
Psst! Want to hear about the latest fiasco? Everywhere you look is another book, article, or blog post reminding us of the dubious success of meritocracy in the United States. Unending scandals—MF Global, Knight Capital, Madoffgate, Liborgate, Peregrine—suggest that the system ostensibly selecting and training society’s current leaders is seriously flawed. Even universities are not immune, as the recent scandal at Penn State has shown.
What’s wrong today is not meritocracy, per se, but rather our meritocracy. Our society uses an outdated and inadequate notion of merit. America, which relies so heavily on standardized tests as a means of entry into opportunity-expanding educational institutions, is at best a fractured meritocracy. The selection tests we use are based on too narrow a band of skills to provide a basis for a true meritocracy.
Research by Douglas Detterman and his…