Can't erase the past
A dark shadow has been cast over the widely-acclaimed prowess of Finland, Singapore, and Shanghai on recent international tests. Careful investigative reporting has found evidence of widespread cheating in all three locales, with teachers and government workers erasing and replacing students’ incorrect answers on PISA and TIMSS test papers. (In Shanghai, we learn, uncooperative teachers simply went missing.) Thus far, however, reactions to the news have been mixed. Finnish Minister of Education Henna Virkkunen asked unapologetically, “What did you expect us to do? We’ve got to protect our children from the emotional blow of bad test scores. They’re fragile creatures, you know, and we have fewer than a million of them.” OECD Directorate for Education head Andreas Schleicher released a statement embracing cheating as a “twenty-first century skill” and promising that this important capability will be assessed by PISA in the future. And U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tweeted “How do you like me now, Singapore!?”
“Unlike Charlie Sheen, Finland and Singapore are NOT winning,” by Greg Bottomo, U-S-A! U-S-A! Today, March 29, 2011.
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