Politico.com has a valuable new education blog in the morning, written by experienced education journalists.
This morning’s report by Nirvi Shah ponders whether the departure of Tony Bennett will show that his (and Jeb Bush’s) beloved A-F grading system is damaged goods. The discovery that Bennett toyed with the system to protect a school owned (and named for) a major GOP donor is reason enough to doubt its validity.
In fact, if you read the article closely, you will understand that the A-F system is intended to facilitate privatization. It sets up schools to fail and to be privatized. Once a school is labeled D or F, it goes into a cycle of decline that is usually irreversible as families leave, good teachers leave, funds and programs are cut, and the school dies, a victim of failed policies and malign neglect.
Unfortunately no critics of accountability like Bob Schaeffer of Fairtest or Paul Thomas of Furman University are quoted. There is a quote from a Néw America Foundation analyst but she seems to say, one, Bennett really did rig the numbers, but two, let’s not give up on test-based accountability.
I disagree. The evidence is now overwhelming that test-based accountability encourages a slew of negative behaviors, including teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, cheating, and gaming the system.
Bennett tried to game the system and got caught. New York State rigged the system to inflate scores but stopped after it was revealed in 2010. Beverly Hall gamed the system and will be tried for cheating. Schools across the nation have abandoned the arts or cut back on recess. The superintendent in El Paso is in jail for gaming the aystem.
How much more fraud and miseducation will be tolerated until thinkers and leaders step forward and admit that test-based accountability IS the problem