Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Prognostications for the New Year are ramping up, while their credibility usually declines with quantity.

But a trenchant set of predictions -- make you want to laugh and cry simultaneously -- appeared in Valerie Strauss' Washington Post blog, "The Answer Sheet."  By professor of education emeritus and author Mark Phillips, some of the best are so close to reality they are scary:
"President Obama will announce a new educational plan to increase achievement, restore teacher morale, and make us competitive with Finland.  Entitled 'Over the Top and Into the 22nd Century' it will be referred to five different congressional committees and become a major source of argument in the 2016 election. 
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee wil make former D.C. schools chancellor Michele Rhee his chief educational advisor and pledge to eliminate all but the top 1% of teachers, raise test scores (while leaving the question of 'which tests?' unanswered), decrease educational costs, and bring all our schools into the 21st [or was that the 20th?] century. 
The phrase '21st century learning skills' will appear in over 300 books and in more than 75 percent of educational columns and articles.  In almost all of these the primary focus will be on raising test scores. 
The primary hirer of the best new teachers graduating from our teacher training programs will be Finland.  This will lead congressional conservatives to call for an embargo on goods from Finland. 
A poll of high school students will list the internet as their primary source of education.  Television will finish second. 
There will be at least three dozen national conferences on technology and education and another two dozen on the latest advances in brain science and their implications for education. Three schools around the country will implement these ideas. 
Almost all the best minds in the field of education will publically criticize the emphasis on standardized testing.  Almost none of the minds in our varied policy making positions will hear them. 
Having realized that much of our educational policy in the United States is akin to a film noir, the newly formed Academy of Educational Arts and Sciences will hold its own academy awards."
A repeat, welcome to K-12 education 2012.

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