Home > Uncategorized > This Just In: Standardized Tests DON’T Measure School Quality and Money DOES matter

This Just In: Standardized Tests DON’T Measure School Quality and Money DOES matter

I’m behind on my [posting a reading and just now got to an Upshot article from the NYTimes by Kevin Carey. In the article, Carey offers data to support the fact that the Federal Government has done little to no intervention in public education and suggests that consequently the ongoing squabbles about the reauthorization/repeal of NCLB are much ado about nothing.

I have two reactions to this piece.

First, like NCLB, it unquestioningly accepts the premise that the effectiveness of a school is determined solely by test scores. This leads to the notion that “data-driven instruction” is needed and that “old school” teachers and administrators who try to cultivate a love for learning need to be replaced by newer teachers and technocratic administrators who see test results as the ultimate end. Here’s what decades of testing have revealed: students who attend schools with high per pupil expenditures in affluent communities outscore students who attend schools with low per pupil expenditures in poverty-stricken neighborhoods or communities.

Secondly, the writer (like the “reformers” and politicians) under-emphasizes one of the key findings of SIG research:

“When districts and schools are given targeted funding—either from philanthropic organizations or the government—they are better positioned to achieve significant change.”

Stated bluntly: money DOES make a difference… especially when it is targeted. The federal government wants neither more money nor more oversight: they want a cheap, fast, and superficial solution to a problem that requires money, time, and comprehensive work by multiple agencies.

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