Democracies Need More Than One Kind of “Good” School

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

This post is a revised and updated version of one I wrote June 2, 2010

[A good education] “teaches you how to ask a question… it is knowing what you don’t know….”

“Ideally, one should know who Shakespeare was and why Shakespeare was important to us…. At the same time, one should know who Toni Morrison is and why her voice and take on America is important to us.”

“An educated high school grad must read, compute, persevere, organize, and problem-solve well enough not just to attend college, but to graduate from college.”

[A good education should instill] “a love of lifelong learning.”*

No surprise that views of what makes a good education differ. Such opinions about what makes an education “good” have differed for millennia among religious leaders, Greek philosophers, and those rebels in the 13 colonies who shaped a democratic experiment in America. Not now, however, in a…

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Measured Progress and Its Temporary Test Scorers


The standardized testing industry is taking over the American public school classroom.

Increasingly more class time is being devoted to preparing for and administering standardized tests in the name of “global competitiveness” and ensuring students are “college and career ready.”

Even though promoters of corporate reform idolize standardized testing to the degree that many seem to honestly believe standardized testing a flawless indicator of both student progress and teacher worth, there are many weak points to such a position.

For the time being, let us just consider one: The test scorers.

The constructed response portions of most standardized tests are graded by human beings.

Who are these people?

Temp workers with at least some college experience and who are hired en masse with little to no supervision– and whose college transcripts need might not even be verified.

Take the assessment company, Measured Progress. It directs individuals interested in temporary test…

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