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"The Dumb Tax"

Brainscans The best thing I heard this week was on NPR, when a traffic engineer praised the pioneering work of his fellow urban planners for "paying the dumb tax" for the rest of the profession. It’s a shame that accountability hawks haven’t embraced the concept, admitting that NCLB produced plenty of boneheaded mistakes, while acknowledging that nobody yet knows how much value can come in the foreseeable future from test-driven accountability. As we tackle the challenge of turning around high poverty neighborhood schools, why should anyone try to pretend that we know the answers?

The dumbest thing I heard this week came from Jonathan Alter who wrote, "We know what works for at-risk kids.  The challenge is trying to replicate it."

But it’s Christmas and it’s time to be charitable. And is there an actual teacher who is not now a babbling idiot?

Brain scans of poor and affluent school children were published this week, and even in my end-of-semester fog I know better than to pay the dumb and dumbest penalty for commenting on that issue. But we should take PET scans of students and teachers when they were seemingly normal persons in August and then take scans at the end of the semester. Would we even look like the same organisms who entered our classrooms four month ago? To paraphrase the aphorism about the Sixties, if you are a teacher at this time of year, and you think you remember the time when you were a rational human being in a classroom, then you weren’t really there. - John Thompson

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But it’s Christmas and it’s time to be charitable. And is there an actual teacher who is not now a babbling idiot?

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