Ready for today’s “Week in Blog Question?” Here goes: “How are those weird Easter Island statues like the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition?”
Sorry, time’s up. But because this is our inaugural, occasional, semi-monthly-on-average Week in Blog Question, the Judges have graciously offered to give you another try. “Now take the eraser end of your pencil and open the test booklet ” No, actually, just think real hard.
Question #2: “So. About those statues: How is the fact that their construction is said to have totally devastated Easter Island civilization as we know it (or think we know it it was, after all, hundreds of years ago) analogous to what RTTT will do to the public schools?”
Yes, it’s a toughie, and, yes, I’m poking fun at Yong Zhao’s blog on these seemingly disparate topics (“I can’t help but make the connection between Easter Islanders’ race to erect the statues and the Obama’s Race to the Top program ” he writes) because it’s a little, well, out there; but the fact is, the University of Oregon professor writes some of the most original and provocative analyses of K12 education on the web today.
Here, to be as brief as possible, is his point: Just as Jared Diamond’s argues in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed that the Easter Islanders exhausted their human and natural resources in a misguided competition to build ever-grander icons, so is RTTT exhausting our schools’ resources in a misguided competition for the best test scores.
“Test scores have no doubt become American’s stone statue in education
” Zhao writes. “Just like the Easter Islanders’ obsession with building statues damaged their ecosystem, America’s obsession with test scores have already begun and will continue to damage its education ecosystem.”