While there will be quibbling about whether the drop-out rates will be increasing with our new graduation requirements, this figure says it all. Only 29% of poor kids with high test scores complete college--the same college completion rate for wealthy kids with low test scores.
Classism and mediocrity.
The experts in education "reform" get their paychecks from foundations, business alliances and corporations. Their advice is sought as the sanctions of NCLB loom. In the meantime, the parent "stakeholder" (yep, that's what a school administrator referred to me in a private meeting two summers ago) who points out valid concerns ranging from teaching to the test, spun test scores and assistance with the test by paraprofessionals (bordering on cheating), to curriculum that don't work (National College of Teachers of Mathematics reform based math, Reading First) and inattention to gifted kids is dismissed.
While we "parent stakeholders" pay the taxes, the reformers have the say.
The 17th Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education, "The First Time
?Everything Changed? was published in October 2007 Phi Delta Kappan. Bracey states:
"The most recent effort to lay blame for societal problems
at the feet of the schools is the ?ED in ?08? campaign
from Strong American Schools. The Broad Foundation
and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation front
this campaign to the tune of $60 million.'
He further states:
Twenty years ago, or even 10, ?falling behind? would have been defined
in terms of test scores. But the TIMSS data from
1995, 1999, and 2005 showed American students making
larger gains than students in many other nations,
so test scores are no longer available as evidence for
that charge. Now, ?falling behind? usually means other
nations have overtaken the U.S. in high school graduation
rates ? the ?fact sheet? at the ED in ?08 website
says the U.S. is now 19th out of ?the top developed
countries.? (The fact sheet does not define ?top developed? or
specify how many nations fall into that category.)
In Oregon, E3 (Gates Foundation), the Wallace Foundation, West Ed, the Chalkboard Project and corporations (Nike Innovation Fund) are the voice of the business reformers at the state, district, and school levels.
Now parents of means must seek private schools, chartered and magnet schools, district boundary gerrymandered "gated community" schools, or private tutoring to ensure quality education. The market place has also quickly responded to the gilded age of home schooling.
In the December 2007 NY Times, Michael Winerip reported that the Educational Testing Service concluded low test scores had more to do with poverty and government's lack of support.
I believe that the fear-mongering and cries for "reforms" are distracting Americans. We don't have our eye on the real ball. Plutocracy has been reborn, surpassing the pre-depression gilded age.
This time our robber barons are much smarter. They have their manufacturing plants abroad; they have their off-shore accounts; they outsource their human capital (demanding that H-1 B visa caps be eliminated.
By perpetuating the "Great Labor Shortage Lie" and the "Great Education Myth" they squander wealth and natural resources internationally.
Economic uncertainty faces the new college grad.
Marian Wright Edelman has stated, "Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for their children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts."
Now we can say, "Educators and parents have become so convinced that foundations, business alliances and corporations know what is best for children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts."
How should Oregon and the rest of the nation respond to poverty, classism and tax inequities and revenue inadequacies that shortchange opportunity and shortchange our future?
How can we restore balance in "data-driven decision making"?
posted 4 years, 11 months ago
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