Thursday, March 26, 2009

Year of "short"

While I was straightening my room this morning, I noticed one of my husband's ubiquitous folded-open magazines. My usual MO is to check the date and if it is more than a month old toss it in the recycling pile. This one though, (Harper's September 2008) was opened to a "Year of" story which I could simply could not resist. The author, Jeremy Miller writes about "The Tyranny of the Test: One Year as a Kaplan Coach in the Public Schools." Some bits of it are scarily like Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed, not because he made crap wages (in fact he seems embarassed by how much more he is paid compared to regular classroom teachers) but because both stories tell much about corporate party lines. The common thread involves employees just following the rules laid down by others.

The Kaplan coaching that Miller writes about is part of huge test-prep industry for the SAT and other standardized tests, including so many that have been created in the wake of No Child Left Behind. Fair Test takes a critical look at these exams. Over 800 colleges and universities have now made the SAT optional.

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