"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Poverty Increases, SAT Scores Decrease, and Testing Accountability Fails Again

from NYTimes
by Jim Horn

Many in the neoliberal Ravitch Club look at the latest SAT test crater and cluck about the failure of corporate education reform to raise test scores.  The continuing drop in SAT scores, however, is more complicated than just a failure of standardized testing as an educational remedy.  

We have now had more than a decade of NCLB high stakes testing accountability, resegegration via charter schools, and outright refusal among the arrogant billionaire fixers to acknowledge the obvious racism and classism of continuing the same reforms while doing nothing about the chief contributor to dropping scores: INCREASING POVERTY.

Meanwhile, more of the same backward reform non-solutions are rolled out in Washington and the states to create more corporate welfare schools and voucher programs, which further drain public budgets and cost taxpayers more to fund failed corporate solutions.  The greatest tragedy, however, is that poor children are allowed to get poorer, still, while suffering the dehumanization of segregated, No Excuses reform schools.

Children are exhausted by years of testing, impossible demands, an educational model that eschews thinking in favor of regurgitation, and soaring school debt with crumbier jobs.  

The SAT was born as a way to continue the phony American meritocracy based on the big lie of equal opportunity, even as we can track a direct correlation between the "meritocratic" SAT scores and family wealth.  

There is no mystery as to the chief culprits for the sinking scores: a continuing inattentiveness to the effects of poverty, a fourth generation of the same failed ed reforms, a complicit media that promotes the corporate snake oil, and the massive diversion created by testing accountability rhetoric have predictably brought us to where we are today.  

Two charts below, one from WaPo and the second from NCES.  Read it and weep:

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