The list is long of self-described reformers like Michelle Rhee (unfortunately including Secretary of Education and President Obama) who are shaping our public school system mainly around standardized testing (plus a distorted preference for charter schools and a weakening of the democratic foundations of public education; controversial subjects for another day). It's become a "club" or elite class of the powerful, political and ideological who infer they "know better" and "care more." They have captivated the media. They are scaring the American public and business community into thinking that most schools are failing or inferior in one way or another, "bad" teachers run rampant, and our very future is threatened...if...if...their reforms are not fully implemented. Because they have set the stakes so high for their agenda and embedded it so deeply into our politics, they are circling the wagons and playing deaf, dumb and blind to the points of view and deep concerns of many.
Those administrators, classroom teachers and students who labor (and families who support them) every day to create healthy, vibrant schools and classrooms where children are valued for their complexities and success is defined in all of its messy, dynamic totality, not simply by standardized test scores. Who also know that unless the conditions (not just the symptoms) of poverty are significantly reversed, no teacher, no school can enable students living in poverty, who are disproportionately black & Hispanic, to fully reach their potential. (Poverty is dismissed in great measure by the reformers who place all burden on teachers and schools to reverse the conditions of poverty. It is naive at best, cruel at worst.) [emphasis mine]Amen.