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Poverty Deniers

June 27, 2013

For several weeks I’ve been working on the analogy between the climate change deniers who oppose any environmental regulation because they are convinced that the changes we are witnessing in our weather are natural and cyclical and the education reformers. I wrote a comment today on Diane Ravitch’s blog post that dealt with Arne Duncan’s recent address to newspaper editors. Here’s what I posted as a comment:

The “reformers” are poverty deniers who, like their kindred spirits the climate change deniers they don’t want to face the political pain and economic sacrifices that result when facts are taken into consideration. Tests and standards in public education’s version of fracking. Tests and standards are far cheaper and politically acceptable than addressing the issue of poverty comprehensively by, say, integrating our schools based on socio-economics or raising enough taxes to provide a bona fide safety net for the children being raised in poverty. And RTTT is every businessman’s dream come true! It incorporates competition, de-regulation, centralization, reduced compensation for workers, and ancillary earning opportunities. This is all possible because tests show that schools serving poor children “fail”. the whole scheme works effectively if you deny that poverty is the problem.

In a future post I hope to elaborate on this analogy. Oh, and here’s what I wrote as a comment to the transcript of Duncan’s speech that appeared in the Washington Post:

The Common Core is NOT the problem: the standardized tests tied to age-cohorts is the problem. If we ant proficiency we should measure for it when the students are prepared for it. We don’t allow drivers to take their tests behind the wheel until we are confident they can handle the car yet we’ve tested students on the common core before their teachers had teaching materials to prepare their students for the tests…. and then blamed the teachers. When standardized tests are administered to large groups of students based on age cohorts the results will always be the same: children raised in poverty will do worse than children raised in affluence.

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