Sunday, September 30, 2012

School Reform We Can’t Believe In

The reading through the weekend has made me see the flaws of our government. Our government has always advocated for education reform and every time something is passed, we seem to backtrack. NCLB has not been the exception because its flaws are clearly being seen through the nation. Reading through School Reform We Can’t Believe In, I noted that more than one third of our public schools are on the “Need improvement” list, which thus makes one question whether if it’s our kids or the system. Its definitely our systems fault because a system that had “$71 billion less that promise” represents a system of many flaws or not worthy of our taxpayers money. NCLB tries to impose punishments to provide an incentive for schools to improve, but in reality NCLB just makes public which schools are need improvement. NCLB does nothing to actually fix the schools but increases its probability of further punishment. The New system with Obama promised a new alternative to NCLB with many reform but up till now, we are getting the same program and maybe even worse. Even with its changed Slogan, Obama plans to keep test-driven sanctions and add some of the worst features of the new Race to the Top plans. This new administration is going to be a backward step, pumped with another slogan that never really gets fulfilled. Our nation has became a slogan itself, where we promise a lot, never get anything done and then are only remembered for the slogan instead of the reform.

1 comment:

  1. Javier's post draws attention to the inherent problems with school reform in its current iteration. As we have discussed in class, the type of school reform represented by NCLB and RTTT is based on sticks rather than carrots. Instead of trying to improve public schools by providing inputs and making classrooms more integrated, inclusive, and accommodating for different learning styles, NCLB and more recent education reforms are "a test, punish, and privatize system" (Karp). Current school reform effectively deskills teachers and deprives them of their autonomy by pressuring them to teach to tests and forcing them to adopt teaching programs and materials from which private corporations profit. Ironically, however, when students “fail,” it is the teachers, not the corporations who wield control over teachers and classrooms, who are blamed and punished.

    In her post, Louisa drew attention to the widening achievement gap resultant from policies that punish instead of improve high-needs schools. As Karp explains, we are essentially experimenting with the poorest and most vulnerable communities, as epitomized by the widespread implementation of charter schools in New Orleans. This again draws attention to the significance of racial politics in policy decisions. The experimentation with charter schools, new teacher materials, less experienced teachers, militarizing classrooms, and eliminating classes not tested by the state would never occur in well-off white schools. By implementing practices that have no empirical backing, despite the claims of private corporations that profit off of them, policy-makers are using public schools to further perpetuate stratification for the benefit of private companies. Moreover, when schools and students continue to “fail” according to the standards implemented by these private companies, our schools and teachers suffer. Despite the claim in Obama’s 2010 Blueprint for Reform for the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that policy changes are “providing intensive support and effective interventions” for America’s lowest-performing schools, current education reform, in actuality, provides supports for and intervenes on behalf of the corporations backing these policy changes, not the students and teachers forced to bare their consequences.