From Teachers and Policy Makers: Troubling Disconnect in the NY Times:
Michael Petrilli, a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a pro-charter education analyst with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, worries about this lack of exchange. He recently conducted an analysis of Twitter and the tens of thousands of followers of Ms. Rhee, who is pro-charter, and Ms. Ravitch, who is anti-charter, and discovered that only 10 percent overlapped. Just as conservatives gravitate to Fox News and liberals to MSNBC to hear their preconceived notions and biases confirmed, Mr. Petrilli speculates that those in education are now preaching solely to the converted, a phenomenon known in the media world as “narrowcasting.”
Worse, in Mr. Petrilli’s view, those who follow Ms. Rhee tend to describe themselves in their Twitter profiles as policy makers or otherwise removed from the immediate realities of the classroom, while Ms. Ravitch’s devotees are typically self-identified practitioners: principals and teachers on education’s front lines. Surely these folks should be talking to one another, but in Mr. Petrilli’s experience, they often aren’t.
No doubt an important finding. Read the whole thing.
But I wonder this: do either of these groups, the reformers that follow Rhee or the practitioners who follow Ravitch, really have enough of a context for modern learning to have a fruitful, relevant discussion even if they were talking to one another?
I ask that really sincerely.
I totally respect the work that those advocating against test based reforms are doing, and I support that pushback every chance I get. But I’m not convinced that the changes they would put in place even lightly take into account the fundamental shifts that are occurring regarding learning and the literacies required to flourish in the world as it exists outside of schools. If we can get rid of the tests, what do we get? Fairly traditional classrooms and curriculum without the tests?
That “context for modern learning” piece is the missing layer in all of this, I think.