- There is a shameful "gap" in performance between affluent white students and poor minority students.
- But even our affluent white students suck compared to the rest of the world.
- The problem, then, must be in our schools.
- While there may be other factors involved, we really can't wait to fix those; we need immediate action, and we can take that by "reforming" schools.
- These "reforms" will create innovation and accountability, which is what has been missing from the public school "blob."
- These reforms - charter expansion, test-based teacher evaluation, vouchers, de-unionization, gutting tenure, merit pay, ending seniority - will raise student achievement.
The answer to these, in turn, is:
- No one argues that the lower performance of poor minority students is shameful and must be fixed. But in every country in the world, the poor have worse educational outcomes than the rich. Doesn't that tell you something?
- Affluent white students in America actually perform well in international comparisons. The few "studies" that claim otherwise do not take into account the curvilinearity of America's correlation between test scores and socio-economic status; in other words, poor and middle class students pay a greater price for not being rich than in other countries.
- At least 60% of student outcomes are based on student characteristics and background. America is a highly-unequal nation. While we can and should try to make our schools better, the solutions to the problems of inequality and chronic poverty clearly lie outside of our public education system.
- We will never equalize educational outcomes until we provide a basic standard of living for every citizen of this country. We could rapidly implement plans to provide universal health care, create jobs, rebuild our infrastructure, make taxes truly progressive, and get monied interests out of politics and our media. So why don't we? It is not a coincidence that the wealthiest people in this country are behind the corporate "reform" movement: they are happy to lay America's problems at the feet of our public schools system so that we, the people, are distracted from having a serious discussion about inequity, chronic poverty, and racism.
- Innovation in education is not the same as buying a lot of unproven digital junk. And professionals in every other field set standards of accountability for themselves, with appropriate public and governmental oversight. Teachers, however, have largely been left out of the "reform" conversation.
- There is no evidence that any of these "reforms" can be scaled up to provide meaningful improvements in student achievement.
I'll say that last one again so we are all clear:
There is no evidence that charter expansion, test-based teacher evaluation, vouchers, de-unionization, gutting tenure, merit pay, or ending seniority can be scaled up to provide meaningful improvements in student achievement.
It's really this simple...