And thank you for caring about public education enough to stop and visit this site. The information provided is to help you maneuver through what has become a convoluted political mess. Please help by asking your representatives;
- to STOP allowing our education laws to be used to profit the education industry,
- to START putting our money to work for us through school improvement laws that embody the principles that will MAKE ALL OUR SCHOOLS EXCELLENT community-based schools, and
- to listen and WORK WITH US to ensure local responsibility, state accountability, and federal supports to meet the needs of the students.
The Only Political Influence More Powerful than Money is We the People.
So to answer the question about education reforms —fake versus real— test your representatives knowledge about the laws. It’s time we test them for a change!
Common Sense Test for Education Laws
What problem does it address? How? At what cost? What potential unintended consequences have been considered? What happens if it is found to be doing harm?
How does it improve educational quality? How does it affect or impact the student’s opportunity to learn? If it can’t expand opportunities to a better quality education, what good is it?
Think, and trust your own common sense! If something doesn’t seem to make sense, it is probably because it doesn’t.
And we should never allow an education reform law to stay in place for years after it is shown to be doing harm.
So what’s the problem with our laws?
Short answer. Because laws cement in place principles that guide the use of limited resources, the school reform philosophy behind laws like No Child Left Behind and now the Every Student Succeeds Act need to be based on effective principles that work to improve schools. And for every dollar pocketed by the profit-driven education industry on things that don’t work, there is one less dollar to provide resources for children and decent wages for the multitude of worker-bees actually in the schools doing the real work of educating children.
No Child Left Behind, and now its revision called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), has teachers and parents pushing children to make standards, testing, and accountability systems “work.” Here’s why the fake education reforms have NOT worked:
- Setting standards continues to be the laws first step. This means the money is spent on rewriting standards and not on the resources to have “kids ready to learn.”
- The whole pseudo-reform mantra revolves around test scores that don’t correlate with a better education. Test scores do not define a great education nor does test-directed teaching focus resources on having “teachers ready to teach.”
- Accountability cannot reasonably be based on test scores (outcome-based) without first addressing the learning conditions (“materials to do the job”) under which we are asking teachers to teach and students to learn.
TO MAKE PROGRESS IN THE U.S. with real education reform, the country needs you to do what you can when you can.
“Young powerfully reminds us that we, America’s citizens, are the ultimate source of political power and public policy in our democracy. We, the people, need to learn about what ‘reform’ policies have been imposed, what’s wrong with them, and how they need to be changed.” Gary Ratner, Director of Citizens for Effective Schools