International Test Scores Are the Tip of the Iceberg… and What Lies Beneath Requires Immediate Attention
A post from Diane Ravitch provided a link to The Iceberg Effect, a report issued by the National Superintendents Roundtable that undercuts the notion that international test results are evidence that US schools are “failing”. The report suggests that test results are the tip of an iceberg that masks the elements of government policies that either support or work against schooling. After examining these four elements, which include equity of opportunity, support for families, social stresses, and support for schools, the writers offer a set of recommendations, which include the following set of policy recommendations:
- Minimize alarmist rhetoric around schools. Despite warnings, no country in the West collapsed when the Soviet Union won the initial race into space in 1957. Nor did the rest of the G-7 founder amidst alarms about Japan’s “rising sun” in the 1970s. On the contrary, the Soviet Union disintegrated and Japan entered the economic doldrums for 30 years.
- We ask American politicians to leave science to the scientists. Withholding funds for research on the social, behavioral, and economic sciences does not advance the well- being of the American people.
- Renew the federal government’s historic interest in school-finance equalization in the United States.
Unfortunately these three recommendations are likely to be ignored in the coming four years. The Democrat party is as guilty as the Republican party when it comes to “alarmist rhetoric”, and given the past eight years it is evident that the Democrat party is as eager as the Republican party to use the “alarm” as the basis for privatization efforts. President-elect Trump’s arrogant anti-intellectualism combined with the know-nothing Tea Party members makes it highly improbable that more funding will be made available for “…research on the social, behavioral, and economic sciences” and there is no chance whatsoever that either Congress or the Education Department under the leadership of Betsy DeVos will do anything to “…renew the federal government’s historic interest in school-finance equalization”. Indeed, there is no evidence that Ms. Clinton would have taken any action on these issues. The National Superintendents Roundtable has provided a thoughtful and insightful report with reasonable and achievable policy objectives. Sadly, nothing will happen for the next four years to bring them into reality.