I’ve written about Sarah Archibald before. She joined the state payroll when Jim Doyle tapped her to head up Wisconsin’s misguided and failed Race to the Top application, a key element of which was rushed legislation opening the door to the misuse of standardized test scores in teacher evaluations. Now she is doing education policy for the FitzWalker gang as part of Senator Luther Olsen’s staff, busting unions, paving the way for privatization via vouchers, enabling charter school expansion, undermining local control, creating bigger class sizes in our public schools, eroding the opportunities to learn for most of the children of our state, and yes, further expanding the abuse of standardized test-based data to determine the conditions of employment for educators (via the pending SB 95 and AB 130). You can read more about Archibald’s belief in the “need” to include “student test scores” in evaluating and determining compensation for teachers in this piece of Bradley Foundation funded pseudo scholarship.
We have a pretty good idea of what Dr. Archibald wants for your children and mine (a little more on that below), but what about her’s? She sends her kids to Wingra School in Madison, where the tuition is $12,000 a year, the teacher student ratio is 12/1, the philosophy is “progressive,” and they don’t believe in tests, standardized or otherwise. I’ll let Doctor Archibald explain in her own words:
…[W]hy we send our kids to Wingra school. At this school, teachers have the luxury of really recognizing and reinforcing each child. With no scripted curriculum and no standardized tests, teachers can focus on allowing the child to blossom and following the kids’ lead in terms of what they want to learn about. Who knows if they’ll really be prepared for high school or college, but they are held, and that counts for a lot.
I can’t help but close with this oft-quoted passage from John Dewey:
“What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon, it destroys our democracy ” (The School and Society, 1899).
Sarah Archibald is a wise parent who is working to destroy our democracy. I think she’s earned the Hypocrite of the Day Award.
Thomas J. Mertz