Our education leaders are in love with ideas that are proven not to work and they ignore evidence that their preferred strategies don’t work.
After a decade of No Child Left Behind, Congress won’t admit that it failed. There are still many millions of children left behind–not “no child”–yet Congress can’t bring itself to ditch its failed program.
Every day brings new evidence that the policies of Race to the Top are hardly different from those of NCLB. They rely on the same strategies of testing, punishment, and choice, with an added dollop of privatization. Why is a Democratic administration so devoted to a Republican policy agenda? Why is a Democratic administration even more devoted to privatization than NCLB?
If we ever come to our senses, there is a better way. Our policymakers decided to treat schools as totally separate from society, to ignore the social and economic conditions that affect student performance. This is wrong. Here is a nice summary of policies that have worked wherever they were tried, but are ignored by our leaders. The formula is simple: Improve the lives of children, and their academic performance will improve.
When will they wake up? When will Arne Duncan and President Obama and the governors and legislators and state chiefs and mayors wake up? When will Stand for Children start standing for children? When will StudentsFirst actually put students first, not teachers last? When will the education reformers realize that schools and society are intertwined?