Zach and Justin are in their senior year of high school, and so have a few interesting mandatory assignments to complete – a senior project, a senior portfolio, etc.
One of them is a required “CBA paper” for their contemporary world issues class. Apparently CBA stands for curriculum based assessment. Or capabilities based assessment. Or combat body armor.
As I heard them discuss this assignment – the only topic given to all senior students, across the state, this year – I was pretty astounded.
The general subject area is government revenue and responsibility. The specific assignment is:
“Responsible citizenship requires an understanding of how government raises and spends money to implement policies and programs. For this research paper, select a level of givernment (federal, state or local) receiving funding from the 2009 Recovery Act (the economic stimulus). Examine the revenue sources and expenditures related to a particular policy or program.”
The troublesome part of the assignment was this:
“Provide an explanation of who pays for and who benefits from the collection of revenue and expenditures related to the policy or program.”
The assumption is made that it’s all upside, that it’s working wonderfully; the teachers do not want to hear about any issues or failures of the stimulus program. I have a problem with that. If you’re assigning a research paper, shouldn’t you let your student select the position he/she wants to support?
(And, for the record, I have no particular issue with the stimulus package, although I do have problems with much of the pork barrel legislation attached to it. I just have an issue with requiring a pre-determined outcome; it seems like propaganda creation.)