Commentary and Criticism about the National Education Association
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In his latest installment for NEA Today from October 10, 2017, Tim Walker tells us to Beware of Hype Over Grade Inflation
Here is my take on that article.
Tim Walker makes one good point in this article. He says that, when considering which is more important, GPA or standardized tests (like the ACT or SAT), “high school GPA has consistently proven to be the best available predictor of undergraduate success.”
Although my personal experience would have told me otherwise, there actually is some research that supports Walker’s point of view.
Confirmed: High school GPAs predict college success
Unfortunately, the article ends on a weak note by referencing questionable work by a man named Alfie Kohn.
Walker quotes from this man as if he is some type of authority on the subject of education when in fact Kohn’s ideas are way outside of the mainstream.
He describes Kohn as “a long time critic of letter grades” and that he “is a proponent of ditching number and letter grades in favor of, among other alternatives, qualitative narrative reports in which teachers describe and discuss student progress.”
But if you actually read some of his work …
No Contest: The Case Against Competition
The Schools Our Children Deserve
… you will get a much better idea just how “far out” his theories are.
ALFIE KOHN SAYS COMPETITION IS BAD, REAL BAD
To quote from a review of Kohn’s book No Contest: The Case Against Competition:
“OK-- so no Olympics. Or baseball teams. Or college debates. Not even Nobel Prizes or Pulitzers. Let's also stop all spelling bees while we're at it. And no ranking of best and least good hospitals, which may make a highly important difference in health outcomes."
"For that matter, we should not rank restaurants either, even when used with a 'star system' to inform diners."
"We also should forget scientific labs which sometimes compete to solve difficult medical issues, and come up with best treatment to save human lives. Finding the best solution is often its own best reward, through friendly competition aimed at the common good.
This idea of 'competition' is bad -- is a false issue, unsupported by researchers, principals or U.S. school policies.”
Let’s see…no competition…no market economy…
I get it, Kohn is a communist – or maybe a socialist?
And I thought that by now Americans would have realized that socialism/communism doesn’t really work all that well.
At least that is the rumor down in Venezuela.