Ned Johnson recently writes in the Washington Post about the
SAT and NUTS. No this is not about squirrels taking college entrance exams; it
is a look at the history of the SAT and the things that cause stress on the
human nervous system.
The acronym is:
Novelty, Unpredictability, Threat to Self or Ego, and Sense of Control (or a loss
While this may be about one test, let's apply it to public education.
First, educators love novelty. We have the fad of the week and frequently don't
use an approach long enough to see if it works.
We enroll kindergarten students and tell
parents that we have a six-year plan; they deserve to know what we are doing
with their children for the next thirteen years.
We constantly feel that we are
being threatened; therefore, our responses to questions or innovations seem
As for control, after ten
years as the superintendent in Henrico an article was written where a school
board member referred to me as a "people person" who was a closet autocrat.
I want lots of input, but I always have a plan. Perhaps Virginia should
look at this model in its reform of the SOL program. And for guys this is
particularly true…we want to fix stuff…and it drives us NUTS!