Thursday, January 31, 2008

Next Up, Grading Parents. A Parody -- Or Is It?

In the midst of a celebration of the City’s five Intel finalists at Stuyvesant HS (where he repeatedly refused to acknowledge a reporter’s question as to why the number of Intel semifinalists has crashed to barely half its former level since he took charge of the public school system), Chancellor Joel Klein stunned the crowd with his latest announcement on data-driven assessment.

“Beginning in September 2008,” Mr. Klein stated, “The ARIS reporting system will be expanded to track parents’ performance in assisting their children’s education. Now that we are tracking and incentivizing the performance of principals and teachers based on student test results, we see this as the last piece of the puzzle. For years, educators have agreed that parent involvement is a key to student learning; now we’re going to put part of the burden back where it belongs.“

“Some of you may ask how we can track parents’ behavior with their kids. Hey, these are the days of the Patriot Act – nothing is private any more. So to begin with, we’ve contracted for a $32 million extension of ARIS to interface directly with Time Warner Cable and Direct TV, so we’ll know what every student’s family is watching and how much. We’ve also created an $8 million interface to EZ Pass and a $93 million interface to AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Facebook, MySpace, Xanga, and Friendster. Oh, and those cell phones your kids keep bringing illegally to school? You got it – we’ll know the minutes and text messaging on those, too.”

“But those things are just child’s play next to our biggest and most revolutionary innovation, conceived by our consultants from Alvarez & Marsal. Beginning next September, the DOE will install hi-tech video surveillance systems in the home of every public school student from Grades 1 – 12. All non-private home activities will be coded and cataloged by Wipro and Infosys in Bangalore, India and fed back to the expanded ARIS so we can generate parental report cards. Parents who receive passing grades will be rewarded with Blu-ray hi-def DVD players and movie discs, while those with D’s or F’s will face mandatory parent training sessions every weekend for three months.”

“No more free rides: no more not reading to your children, no more not helping them with their homework, no more letting them study with the television on while they text message on their cell phones with iPod earphones stuck like cotton in their ears. Did anybody think we were just going to give away money for coming to a Parent Teacher Conference, getting their kid a library card, or taking them to the dentist? Get real, folks. Woody Allen may have said that 80% of success is just showing up, but he’s not a parent in my school system!”

When reminded by an anonymous voice in the crowd that the public schools are not “his” system, the Chancellor puzzled bystanders by channeling his inner Pee Wee Herman and snapping back, “I know you are, but what am I?”

No comments: