Each time I publish or post a critique of the education reform insanity coming from the Corporate Reformers, I receive badgering responses asking what I would do instead. So here is a list of Reform We Need:
• Secretary of Education Arne Duncan needs to resign, and apologize for his inexpert leadership and harm done to public education.
• Federal and state policies must address the lives of children in the U.S. A first best step would be universal health coverage for everyone 18 and under as well as all people enrolled in school until the age of 30. A next set of policies must address stable and well paying work for poor and working class families. Food security among children as well as in the homes of people in poverty and working-class families must be addressed also.
• All aspects of the accountability era, including standards-based testing, must be dismantled. Testing used to label, rank, and sort students and teachers must be ended since test-based data remain primarily a reflection of the status of the students' homes and communities.
• Direct education reform must address first ending all aspects of perpetuating inequity found in schools—testing, tracking, teacher assignments, "no excuses" practices.
• Teacher and schools must be afforded autonomy before any re-imagined types of accountability can be implemented (and that accountability must focus on what teachers and schools provide, not on the narrow and measurable outcomes of the students).
Calls for teacher accountability (VAM), increasing charter schools, implementing school choice (vouchers, tuition tax credits), adopting CCSS, and increasing testing are all distractions as education reform, and rejecting these corrosive policies is acknowledging that fact—but not a call to embrace the status quo.