Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Support Public Education

I've argued in the past that one of the problems with No Child Left Behind is that only a few of the children in public schools would get to benefit from going to a private school with the vouchers, and the private schools get to choose whom to take, meaning that those who could potentially benefit the most from "better" educators would still be left behind. I also argued to the short-sightedness of the voucher program, that is, it only speaks to the educators, and not the environment from which the students came, their home life.

It turns out, perhaps these two issues should have been, or at the very least, need to be, addressed. This is because the School Voucher Program in Wisconsin has resulted in no change in performance on test scores. That's right. The children who got the precious vouchers, and therefore the "better" education scored no higher than Les Miserables who were left behind. I first read about this at Americans United. In other words, the program that takes millions of dollars from public schools that are "failing" students to allow a fraction of those students harmed to go to parochial/private schools results in no increased benefit for any of the students. Perhaps this money could be better used in the aggregate, rather than segregating the chosen few deemed worthy enough to deserve a chance to succeed in the eyes of the state and churches.


photog said...

Perhaps we could quit attempting to teach kids how to pass a damn test and start helping kids actually learn. I understand the desire to have some empirical benchmark - no matter how arbitrary - but each child is different. What is exemplary performance for one child is slacking for another. But instead of helping children reach their individual potential, we teach all the kids how to meet the minimum (the lowest common denominator), leaving many children with unused potential. They are left mind-numbingly bored and unchallenged, causing apathy and poor conduct.

Hopefully the legislators (and educators) will see the idiocy of these standardized tests before we are left with nothing but readin', writin' and 'rithmitic. I haven't looked for any studies, but I hypothesize students who receive a balanced education - including physical education, the arts, et cetera - not only perform better on these crazy test, but are also more successful in their post-education endeavors.

Cassie said...

I just want to say in response to Photog's comment... I don't personally know any educators who agree with standardized tests.