November 13, 2003
Great news about how well Lauren Lee is doing

I don't know how much attention this story will get in the USA, but it certainly got mine:

Fourteen-year-old Lauren Lee recently got some great news in a progress report sent home from Sherwood High School in Montgomery County. The freshman got an "A" in a tough honors-level geometry course.

Not bad, thought Lauren's mother, Lauren Asbury, especially considering that her daughter never attended the school.

"She doesn't go to Sherwood," explained Mrs. Asbury. "She goes to Good Counsel High School."

Lauren, who lives in Olney, has never attended Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, but that hasn't stopped teachers she's never met from giving her high marks.

Two of the four teachers at Sherwood whose classes Lauren never attended gave her A's anyway, according to the Sept. 26 progress report school officials recently mailed home.

The mother is worried that truant officers will come calling. But what this story is really about is how increasingly, the people judging how well teachers are doing these days are themselves. School "reform" often now means London, or in this case maybe Washington, or perhaps the state capital, sending you a form which can be summarised as asking: How well are you doing? Answer: I'm doing great! Smiles all round. But what if, as here, and as in a lot of other places, the answer is a lie?

This is why I have a category called "Sovietisation", because this was how the economy of the old USSR also used to do so well. That too was an "I'm doing great!" set-up, until suddenly it very obviously wasn't.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:28 AM
Category: Sovietisation