NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND AS AN ANTI-POVERTY MEASURE
This article in Teacher Education Quarterly argues that, although No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is not presented as a jobs policy, the Act does function as a substitute for the creation of decently paying jobs for those who need them. Aimed particularly at the minority poor, NCLB acts as an anti-poverty program because it is based on an implicit assumption that increased educational achievement is the route out of poverty for low-income families and individuals. NCLB stands in the place of policies like job creation and significant raises in the minimum wage which -- although considerably more expensive than standardized testing -- would significantly decrease poverty in the United States. In the article, Jean Anyon and Kiersten Greene demonstrate that there are significant economic realities, and existing public policies, that severely curtail the power of education to function as a route out of poverty for poor people. The weakened role of education in upward mobility vitiates any premise that better scores on achievement tests, and increased education, will secure for low-income folks the jobs and income they need. For more education to lead to better jobs, there have to be jobs available. Even a college degree no longer guarantees a decent job. When the federal government and the business communities rely on education to reduce poverty, the social costs of the failure of such an approach are enormous, and taxpayers shoulder the burden.
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Friday, February 16, 2007
The Missing Link Between Higher Test Scores and Lower Poverty
This week's PEN Weekly Newsblast has up this pdf link to the new article by Anyon and Greene on the institutionalized lie that test scores are going to reduce poverty.