06 March 2006

That's One Way of Looking at It

I'm doing a bit of research for an upcoming assignment in my grad class. I'm specifically looking for information on doing curriculum alignment as it applies to elementary science, but in the meantime, I ran across this general book on Deep Curriculum Alignment by Fenwick English and Betty Steffy. Reading the blurb about it made me think that it could have some applications to my situation and I was able to round up a copy from someone in the office this morning.

Here is the opening sentence: Across the landscape of America, high-stakes testing continues to leave in its cyclonic path defeated hopes and broken lives.

This was obviously not going to be the regular dry how-to book. This was going to be a book with voice.

Indeed, farther down on the page was...This temptation to engage in drill and kill exercises is nearly overwhelming and drowns out even common sense. (so far, so good) When that impulse becomes dominant, we have the lobotomization of instruction. (the authors liked the lobotomy idea...they used it again later in the book)

Things calmed down until the end of the following page. And then...Although we recognize that school systems have been and continue to exercise forms of domination that are culturally oppressive, alignment demonstrates that all children can learn and be successful. Alignment plants doubts in the minds of those who have believed the racist and sexist explanations for poor test scores. It does it right inside the system itself so that it can't be explained away as some utopian scheme advanced by fuzzy-headed liberals working in the ivory towers of academe.

Oh, my.

I will say that the book certainly had my rapt attention. I entertained the other specialists in the office with these and other items from the book. After this beginning, the authors did settle down into a more traditional "voice" for their writing. I did find some useful information for my research...that is, after I got over the imagery of cyclones, lobotomies, and fuzzy-headed liberals.

I can hardly wait to see what other resources have to offer.


graycie said...

The first few quotes had me standing on my chair and cheering. The last one sent me cowering under the desk -- I'm still hiding there as I type. What a strange viewpoint.

The Science Goddess said...

Be afraid...be very afraid...

The book had some good info in it. I'm just not used to a PD book being so opinionated.