As the doors of our car closed shut last night on the way home from our movie, my husband said, "I was just reflecting about that movie..."
"Yes?" I replied.
"Well, it reminds me of teaching and how education reformers and those relying on data to game the system of education are really playing their own version of Moneyball."
"I KNOW! I was thinking the exact same thing." I replied.
He said, "If they think baseball is hard to pin down to computerized stats and evaluation, try teaching. There are so many variables in teaching: kids not doing homework due to a crazy home life, lack of drive, or interest; kids feeling over tested, narrowed curriculum, kids worrying about their next meal, kids dealing with being homeless, kids who are at a 10 year deficit in reading skills because no one really read to them when they were young, large classes, loss of programs that students value, lack of sleep, lack of support at home, peer pressure, busy families trying to work several jobs to survive, and other problems associated to poverty. How can we really pin down numbers and data to determine and predict success?"
However, when you look at the OEIB and the NCLB waiver plan, it is increasingly about implementing and collecting data ad nauseum thinking that the more data you try to get your head around the more likely that we can determine the magic answer in getting our kids to succeed.
But teaching, successful teaching, doesn't operate in those parameters. Teaching is more like the baseball scouts who use their intuition, experience and knowledge of the game and players to create a successful team.
That is what is missing in the education reform version of Moneyball: the voices of the experts who know and understand the game of teaching.
Until the voices of those who are in the trenches: parents, teachers, and students are heard and valued, Oregon's education system will continue to rack up more losses than wins in the game of Moneyball.
"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire." --William Butler Yeats