2018 Fall November 20 Tuesday

29 degrees this morning 35;23 minute walk, 87% humidity 

Cold, but overall nice walk this morning.  No wind, obviously dressed for cold.  Some coughing, but controllable by breathing etc.

The moon, almost or actually a full moon, set rapidly in the west as I walked.  It almost became a “harvest moon”  (which I define as a large red moon) as it set beyond the horizon. 

I don’t know if I ever saw the moon set so fast and early, although it is an hour change from last summer.  

Watching “The Wire”, I had to think about about “teaching to the test” in more ways than one.  

In the series, teachers developed a relationship and basically effective teaching to children when they are instructed to “teach to the test”, the statewide tests that almost all states have and are a universal failure of measuring education (in my opinion).  

One of the teachers mentions that “traditional education” (especially teaching to the test) is not effective for these children since there world is completely different from the word the test/textbook writers envision.  

Argue all you want, (and obviously I have absolutely no answers), they have a point.  How is anyone going to learn if the “textbook” doesn’t apply to  your world, whether the child (or adult) is from a low-low-income neighborhood or the backwoods?  

I actually plan on researching more on this, just to see what all is involved in “state-wide” tests.  I think it is an attempt to test something or quantify something that can’t be tested or quantified on standard tests or probably by any means.

From the same series, there is a similar situation, where a detective is ordered not to look for dead bodies he had figured are in abandoned buildings since the dead bodies will “decrease the clearance rate” and made the Police Department look bad.  

I really doubt that that  hiding dead bodies actually happens like “teaching to the test” does,  (at least very much), but it indicates the fallibility of using false tests of effectiveness!  

(In the series, the incoming Mayor is urged to get the bodies out so they can be blamed on the outgoing Mayor and not during his tenure!).  

While the dead body situation is obviously an exaggeration, it does emphasize a real danger in judging performance based on artificial statistics and not what the job really is.  

In my opinion, the job of education is to teach students to effectively deal with their actual lives.  Again, I have no answers, but I think it is good to continue searching for the answers and not set up artificial “tests” of whether students have “learned” certain  artificial goals.  

Same with law enforcement, the goal is to provide a safer environment while protecting people and property, not produce statistics.  

Easy to say, but hard to do!

That’s it for now, Tuesday, November 20, 2018.

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