International test scores were released this week. Soon we will begin to hear that familiar tagline on the nightly news,”U.S. students lag other nations.”
Here are three things that you need to know but will not get from the mainstream media:
1) Out of the world’s 35 developed nations — the same nations that our test scores are compared to — the U.S. has the second-highest percentage of children living below the poverty line. Only one other country has a higher percentage of impoverished kids: Romania…..Yes, Romania.
2) Research overwhelmingly proves that poverty is linked to student performance: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/opinion/the-unaddressed-link-between-poverty-and-education.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
3) In the U.S., all children are guaranteed the right to be enrolled in public schools. No exceptions. This is a foundation of our democracy. Also, all students who are enrolled in American public schools are required to take these tests — even children with special needs. And, yes, all scores are officially reported: the good, the bad and the ugly. Yet, we compare ourselves to places like China, where hundreds of thousands of students are turned away from “public” schools and only the highest test scores are officially reported.
As you can see, this is not apples-to-apples.
In fact, it’s more like apples-to-corrupt dictatorships.
These flawed international comparisons are what led to the current era of high-stakes standardized testing that we now live in.
It started out as “No Child Left Behind”. Then they changed the name to “Race To The Top”. Now they are getting ready to change it again. “The Common Core State Standards”, they are calling it, and it will come with the same, punitive tests as before.
Who are “They”?
“They” are the politicos, the hucksters, the Beltway think-tankers, the left and the right; the oligarchs, the bureaucrats, the blue-bloods, the elite, the “smartest people in America.”
“They” are not the auto technician who works fifty hours a week while finding the time to coach Little League and attend PTA meetings.
“They” are not the single Mom working on two jobs and a nursing degree who takes great pride in the high-poverty neighborhood public school where her children attend and whose teachers she adores, only to see them constantly threatened and labeled by “them” as failing.
“They” are out of touch, yet they are imposing their hair-brained schemes on our children.
Enough is enough.
Call your state legislator today and ask him or her to put a moratorium on high-stakes testing.
After all, we are still a democracy, right?
At this point, I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.
However, I do know that you and I have the power to find out by communicating with our elected officials.