Our dear Leigh Funk at Kennesaw State has blessedly dragged our Georgia Educational Research Association kicking and screaming into the 21st century, so now it becomes time for me to put my sometimes fat mouth into the fray. A while back (now it’s been over a year) I used to email to a group of respected acquaintances a few of my finds as a “policy analyst” at the state’s teacher licensing agency. Those pieces were always the work of others that seemed to slice elegantly into the issues that face us in P-12 and higher education. I’ll continue to do the same here, although now that I’m not a state agency employee, you may find me sometimes making some slightly more pointed comments introducing these pieces.

I’ll try to maintain a somewhat balanced selection, but those of you who know me also know that (1) I consider NCLB to have been one of the most destructive works of federal legislation in United States history and (2) I think our use of minimum competency testing (that’s what we do in Georgia) has had phenomenally destructive consequences for P-12 public education nationally, and is one of the primary factors that has kept Georgia at the bottom of the educational ladder – at least as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

For the record, my opinions about testing are about how we use testing, not about tests themselves. Much of my career was spent building tests, and for a bit I ran another state’s testing programs (it’s probably more accurate to admit that they ran me).  There are many perfectly reasonable and legitimate uses of testing – even including “bubble” (multiple choice) testing. You’ll no doubt see me spend a fair amount of time on testing issues.

Is Race to the Top the right fix for NCLB? We’ll have to wait and see, for while this particular federal effort to bully states into doing what they want seems no more than son of NCLB, I have great respect for several of the state agency heads and they do have a bit more flexibility than under Nickleby Sr.

As for higher ed, I will certainly admit that I’ve spent little time pondering that arena in my career. I’ll likely tread lightly and humbly here. Suggestions for insightul articles will be most welcome.