Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, November 23, 2012

The NY Times Actually Publishes A Piece Showing The Destruction Wrought By Education Reform

Excellent piece in the Times op-ed section by Michael Brick on the destruction education reformers cause with their insistence upon "school choice," high-stakes testing, school closures and the like.

Here's a taste:

IN his speech on the night of his re-election, President Obama promised to find common ground with opposition leaders in Congress. Yet when it comes to education reform, it’s the common ground between Democrats and Republicans that has been the problem. 

For the past three decades, one administration after another has sought to fix America’s troubled schools by making them compete with one another. Mr. Obama has put up billions of dollars for his Race to the Top program, a federal sweepstakes where state educational systems are judged head-to-head largely on the basis of test scores. Even here in Texas, nobody’s model for educational excellence, the state has long used complex algorithms to assign grades of Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Unacceptable to its schools. 

So far, such competition has achieved little more than re-segregation, long charter school waiting lists and the same anemic international rankings in science, math and literacy we’ve had for years.
And yet now, policy makers in both parties propose ratcheting it up further — this time, by “grading” teachers as well. 

It’s a mistake. In the year I spent reporting on John H. Reagan High School in Austin, I came to understand the dangers of judging teachers primarily on standardized test scores. Raw numbers don’t begin to capture what happens in the classroom. And when we reward and punish teachers based on such artificial measures, there is too often an unintended consequence for our kids.

There's more - read the whole piece.

It would be nice if the guy who writes the unsigned education reform editorials for the Times would read some of the anti-reform stuff that shows up even in the NY Times op-ed section from time to time.

He might see that the dribble he writes promoting education reform, standardized testing, high stakes accountability and firing teachers based on test scores actually does more harm than good to students and schools.

But editorial writers, especially the ones who write the unsigned editorials, seem to simply parrot the corporate education reform movement literature word-for-word.

Happens at the NY Times, the WSJ, the Economist, the Financial Times, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the NY Daily News, the NY Post and elsewhere across the media landscape.

To be fair, some of the other "writers" at the NY Times who sign their columns - like Bobo Brooks, the Mustache of Understanding, and Nick "Where Are The Hookers?" Kristof - also seem to simply rewrite Gates Foundation pamphlets when they write columns on education issues.

And to be even more fair, many of the newspapers that promote education reform make money off education reform - from the Pearson-owned Financial Times to the Washington Post/Kaplan Test Prep Company to the News Corp-owned Journal and Post.

Even the NY Times is trying to expand into making some money off education by selling things to districts and schools.

So of course many of the "journalists" at these papers promote education reform and/or reformy solutions to problems while slamming teachers as the main cause of all the problems in education these days because it's, well, it's good for the bottom line.

And even journalists in this day of media downsizing want to be seen as "adding value" to their employers.

Still, it's nice to see somebody at the NY Times put the Michael Brick piece in today's paper.

It would be nicer if they hadn't buried it on a holiday weekend when few people will see it.

1 comment:

  1. Much too late for the NY Times to own up to the damage that has been sowed by the so-called educational reformers: Bill Gates, Michell Rhee, Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg, the Broad Foundation. In their collective epic greed, they have offloaded a multi-trillion dollar swindle on ill-informed taxpayers. So, just like the multi-trillion dollar swindle by the mortgage backed securities swindlers was put on the American taxpayer. Mr. Obama, you will not be able to scapegoat George W. Bush for your huge mistake in education policy. This is all about you and your Race to The Top crap shoot.