[AAACE-NLA] Tightening up, the loss of leeway, and stripping away quality
gdemetrion at msn.com
gdemetrion at msn.com
Sun Jan 28 18:09:23 EST 2007
Thank you David for our poignant analysis. For those of us working with adults at very basic reading levels, what you say holds in triplicate.
Thank you for citing Merrifield's excellent report, which served as a powerful echo in Conflicting Paradigms.
May I recommend that whenever Contested Ground is cited, that my 2000 review, REFLECTING ON CULTURE WARS IN ADULT LITERACY EDUCATION: EXPLORING CRITICAL ISSUES IN
"CONTESTED GROUND is cited with it:
----- Original Message -----
From: David Rosen
Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2007 9:22 AM
To: National Literacy Advocacy List sponsored by AAACE
Subject: [AAACE-NLA] Tightening up, the loss of leeway,and stripping away quality
I have been thinking about leeway, a word used often now by adult
education practitioners. Leeway is the amount of freedom available
to act or move. In its original context, to keep a ship on course, a
navigator adjusts for leeway, or drift leeward. In common use, leeway
means wiggle room, space to accommodate for changes that occur,
enough slack so that a tight rope doesn't break. Leeway is what
teachers and program administrators tell me they no longer have.
Why is this? Broadly speaking, it is because of public funding
accountability rules and compliance regulations. Every state has
tightened accountability brought about by the National Reporting
System through Title II of the Workforce Investment Act. To continue
with nautical metaphors, each year accountability is being
systematically "ratcheted up" (tightened with a ratchet, a mechanical
device, that only allows one-way movement). Some states have also
added to federal regulations their _own_ additional rules,
requirements and interpretations.
Several years ago, in her important paper on accountability,
"Contested Ground: Performance Accountability" ( http://
www.ncsall.net/?id=656 ) Juliet Merrifield argued that we need
mutual accountability, that legislators and funders must also be
accountable to programs and students. And while some funders would
agree that this is important, I do not see mechanisms for this kind
of accountability to occur.
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