A differing view of the Massachusetts superintendent

From the School Liberator mailing list:

Quite a black eye for the Lawrence MA school system, when school super, Wilfredo Laboy, flunked a required literacy test, not once, not even twice, but three times. [...]

--> Note that we said the embarrassment is not Mr. Laboy's, but the system's. Here's why...

--> Marshall Fritz writes that Mr. Laboy's case may be an occasion where we in the Alliance can rise above the fray.

--> "The fray will include most conservative and libertarian school reformers, pundits, and talk show hosts. They'll all be hooting over this one.

"However, I suspect that this is not at all an issue of administrator competence. Rather, it is another example of the inappropriateness of certain form of testing: It measures not what it pretends to measure, but really measures only test taking ability.

"It seems quite reasonable to me that a person could be an excellent leader and communicator and yet be unable to transcribe a paragraph using correct English punctuation, especially, as in the case of Wilfredo Laboy, if English is his second language.

"Such a person simply needs a very good secretary so that his written communication is in proper English.

"When he speaks, who cares whether he is consistently putting commas in the right place? Or, when speaking, even the "write place."

"Those wishing to see a 30 second clip of Mr. Laboy and evaluate his spoken communication can easily do so at http://www.lawrence.k12.ma.us/

"Still unconvinced?

"Well, take my word for it. In my 15 minute conversation with Mr. Laboy, he struck me as a person quite able to communicate. And lead.

"In fact, in a fully private education system, he might be a leading light and quite in demand. (Notice how the computer industry is not fussing that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs aren't passing some test dreamed up by third-rate computer techs.) "The lesson we can learn from this is that it is natural for a government-funded and run schooling system to set up rules and tests that put a kind of credentialing above common sense.

"They are doing the same thing to the students with their "high stakes testing," and it will backfire Big Time in the next few years. Another fad will pass.

"So while my main message to Mr. Laboy is to reject government schooling, quit, and start a private school, I suspect the advice he might be able to actually implement is to thumb his nose at the whole testing mentality.

"Bravo, Wilfredo." --MF

Share this