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Gary Chartrand paints a very poor picture.

By Greg Sampson

How do you judge an artwork? If your criteria are whether or not the artist painted a picture that aligns with your tastes, you have made a subjective judgment, but more important, you have made a biased judgment.

If, on the other hand, you look at the brushwork, the use of color, the perspective in the scene, the choice of medium, and the originality of the artist’s conception, you are making a subjective judgment (one based upon your perception) but it is valid because it is not biased.

You may not like an artist’s work if it does not look like a photograph, but you can view a Picasso cubist painting and see how he distorted the perspective into geometries that nevertheless conveyed something essential about his subject in a brilliant way. You can proclaim him “proficient.” Maybe even “Highly Effective.”

Or you could try for an objective measurement. Take rap music, which our youth love and I abhor. Nevertheless, I can tell good rap from bad rap. We could measure rap music objectively: how many beats to the rhythm, the variations upon the main beat, do the couplets really rhyme; we could even look at the spellings of the rhymes and pass judgment. I could analyze an artist’s rap and report on those facts. But does that tell us if it is a good rap or a bad rap?

You are now wondering why this post is appearing in this blog, Education Matters.

I am responding to Gary Chartrand’s statement: “The FSA test score is the only objective piece of information the state provides to parents about how their individual child is doing,” said Gary Chartrand, a member of the board and a recent chairman. (

I challenge that statement:
·         Why does Chartrand not believe that subjective judgments, if unbiased, are valid?
·         Why does Chartrand believe that only one measurement is valid?
·         Why does Chartrand believe that only the State of Florida can provide an evaluation about how their children are doing?
·         Why does Chartrand believe that school districts, individual schools, and teachers are unable to provide feedback to parents about how their children are doing?
·         Why does Chartrand believe a state test that aligns to less than two-thirds of Florida standards is more valid than the test I give in my classroom that aligns to all of Florida standards?
·         Why does Chartrand believe that a child’s inability to solve a problem correctly on my test is not an objective measurement?

Gary, if you’re reading, I invite you to submit a response. I am sure Chris will publish it.

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