2/19/2015 – Testing Isn’t Helping

THIS WEEK: Young Black Males In Crisis … Scott Walker’s Bad Priorities … Charter Schools’ Low Performance … NCLB’s Test-Based Reforms Failed … Student Loan Defaults Rise


Memo To Civil Rights Activists: Testing Isn’t Helping

By Jeff Bryant

“Is forcing every child to take annual standardized tests in reading and math a civil rights issue? That certainly seems to be one of the questions most in consideration in Washington, DC, since deliberations began on how to rewrite the federal government’s most significant education policy No Child Left Behind … However, the civil rights argument for The Big Annual Test continues to devolve into circular reasoning: Justifications for the tests are based exclusively on what the tests produce – that we need to test every poor black and brown child every year to see what their test scores are. We know what to do when we’re going in circles. Change directions.”
Read more …


In The Nation’s Capital, Fewer Than Half Of Black Males Graduate From High School

Mother Jones

“A new report on the state of black youth in the public schools, looks at suspension and graduation rates and points to some alarming trends … 15% of black males nationwide have been suspended from school, versus only 5% of white boys … Suspensions increase the likelihood of students dropping out, and many end up in the criminal justice system … Only 59% of black males graduate from high school, versus 80% of white males. The worst rates were found in Washington, DC, and in Nevada.”
Read more …

WI Gov Walker Budget Cuts $300 Million From UW, Sets Aside $220 Million For NBA Stadium

National Education Association

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker revealed his priorities this month when he announced a massive $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin (UW) system – and a $220 million donation of public funds to the Milwaukee Bucks to build a new basketball arena … The cuts are ‘way too big’ … at UW-Madison alone, they would equal 650 faculty positions or 1,083 staff positions – or the total budgets of five smaller colleges within UW-Madison … In Maine, where Walker’s cohort Gov. Paul LePage cut support for the University of Maine system, the University of Southern Maine responded this year by eliminating its geoscience and applied medicine programs, as well as New England studies, the classics, and 10 others. More than 50 faculty – basically 1 out of every 5 or 6 – are gone.”
Read more …

Charter Schools Struggling To Meet Academic Growth


“Students in most Minnesota charter schools are failing to hit learning targets and are not achieving adequate academic growth … The gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72% were proficient … Minnesota is the birthplace of the charter school movement … But the new information is fueling critics who say the charter school experiment has failed … Just like traditional public schools, the highest-performing charter schools tend to serve students from more affluent families.”
Read more …

No Child Left Behind’s Test-Based Policies Failed. Will Congress Keep Them Anyway?

The Washington Post

At The Answer Sheet blog by Valerie Strauss, education research experts with the National Education Policy Center write, “There is now a parent-led backlash against ‘over-testing’ … Nevertheless, the debate in Washington, D.C., largely ignores the fundamental criticism leveled by parents and others: testing should not be driving reform … We as a nation have devoted enormous amounts of time and money to the focused goal of increasing test scores, and we have almost nothing to show for it … Some state and federal initiatives are aimed at evidence-based reforms, such as expanding high-quality early childhood education and community schools. These remain small exceptions, however, within a system that still has test-based accountability at its core.”
Read more …

Student Loan Defaults Rise Throughout 2014

Washington Examiner

“Student loan balances and delinquencies are rising … The broader picture of household indebtedness is more encouraging … Total household debt is still nearly 7% below the late 2008 peak … But within that trend … is the explosion of student debt, which has doubled since the start of the recession to $1.16 trillion. The share of student loan balances at least 90 days past due rose from 11.1% to 11.3% in the quarter, higher than any other form of consumer credit … Many economists expect student loan delinquencies to keep rising as the effects of the recession wear off, as the large cohort of students who entered college during the worst of the jobs crisis end their post-college grace periods and begin repayments.”
Read more …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *