Who says the foundations (and Gates, in particular) don’t set government policy?Dissent (again)
On October 9, 2009, Edward Haertel, chair of the National Research Council’s Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) sent a letter-report to Arne Duncan to express BOTA’s concern about the use of testing in RTTT’s requirements.
Tests often play an important role in evaluating educational innovations, but an evaluation requires much more than tests alone. A rigorous evaluation plan typically involves implementation and outcome data that need to be collected throughout the course of a project.REFLECTING “A consensus of the Board,” the nineteen-page letter went on to review the many scientific studies that demonstrate the pitfalls of using standardized test scores as a measure of student learning, teacher performance, or school improvement. BOTA recommended that the DOE use these studies to revise the RTTT plan. Unfortunately, as Haertel explained in his cover note, “Under National Academies procedures, any letter report must be reviewed by an independent group of experts before it can be publicly released, which made it impossible to complete the letter within the public comment period of the Federal Register notice [for RTTT’s proposed regulations].” The scientists needed a peer review of their work, so they missed the Federal Register deadline, and that meant Duncan could ignore their recommendations—which he did. Haertel’s letter (www.nap.edu/catalog/12780.html) makes for poignant reading in the twenty-first century: science imploring at the feet of ideology. [emphasis mine]