Dr. Bill Smith of Johnson City writes about the reality of current education policy in his latest piece for the Johnson City Press.
In the 40 years since Anyon’s article was published, accountability measures have standardized public school curricula, and testing pressures have kept teachers from deviating from these standards. Although there has been some effort in recent years to include higher-level learning expectations in mandated curricula, the inherent limitations of standardized testing make it unlikely that many of today’s classrooms — even in the most well-funded schools — can provide the rich, engaging learning experiences children had in the affluent professional and executive elite schools Anyon studied.
However, as Nikhil Goyal wrote in 2016, it’s noteworthy that most of our politicians have enrolled their children “in schools outside the wrath of their own education policies.” Austere budgets and high stakes testing measures that narrow the curriculum and diminish the joy of learning are good enough for our children, but not for theirs.
That’s worth remembering whenever you hear politicians yammering about how they’re going to eliminate the achievement gap with $7,000 vouchers and more incentives to raise test scores.
Smith makes the point that what our leaders have not done so far is actually meaningfully increase investment in schools. Neither a more intense focus on testing nor the offering of vouchers will actually move the needle when it comes to student outcomes.
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