Archives for category: NCLB (No Child Left Behind)

David Berliner and two colleagues wrote an article proposing a simple and research-based way that public schools can save millions of dollars annually: Stop testing every student every year. Test every third year or every other year. They explain why this makes sense in an article posted on Valerie Strauss’s blog The Answer Sheet.

Strauss begins:

States spend millions of dollars every year to purchase standardized tests in an exercise that has come under strong criticism in recent years for reasons including the quality of the exams and the often invalid ways that districts and states use the scores.

While the billion-dollar testing industry is undergoing changes, with a bigger share of its spending going to the purchase of digital exams, the same questions remain, including: Are states wasting money?

The federal government requires annual statewide tests in reading/language arts and mathematics for all students in grades three through eight and once in high school, and some states tack on other standardized exams. A decade ago, one analysis found that states spent a combined $1.7 billion on these exams, and experts say the total has only gone up.

This post argues that the states are wasting money, and it explains an alternative to save money and increase instructional time. It was written by David C. Berliner, Norman P. Gibbs and Margarita Pivovarova.

Berliner, Regents’ professor emeritus at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, is a past president of the American Educational Research Association who has published extensively about educational psychology, teacher education and educational policy. Gibbs is a program evaluator for the Mesa Unified School District in Arizona whose research focuses on assessment and accountability, comparative and international education, and inclusive and participatory decision-making. Pivovarova is an associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University whose research focuses on the relationship between student achievement, teacher quality and school contextual factors.

This post argues that the states are wasting money, and it explains an alternative to save money and increase instructional time. It was written by David C. Berliner, Norman P. Gibbs and Margarita Pivovarova.

Berliner, Regents’ professor emeritus at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education, is a past president of the American Educational Research Association who has published extensively about educational psychology, teacher education and educational policy. Gibbs is a program evaluator for the Mesa Unified School District in Arizona whose research focuses on assessment and accountability, comparative and international education, and inclusive and participatory decision-making. Pivovarova is an associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University whose research focuses on the relationship between student achievement, teacher quality and school contextual factors.

By David C. Berliner, Norman P. Gibbs, and Margarita Pivovarova

Could state educational policymakers do with a few million extra dollars? Surely, America’s teachers can help us all think of something to do with that money. We know how they can do it.

We explain below how this is done, as we did more extensively in a just-published article in Education Policy Analysis Archives, a respected, peer-reviewed educational research journal.

We presented data suggesting a remarkably easy and substantially cheaper way for each state to get the information it desires about the academic performance of its schools from the standardized tests it uses. In addition, following the advice offered in this article, there would also be an increase in instructional time for students. Let us set the stage for this research first.

Suppose a set of nonidentical triplets are identified at age 5. One is tall for his age, one is of medium height, and one is short for his age. At age 6, what is the chance that these children have changed the order of their heights? Sure, they will probably be a little taller, but the order is highly likely to be the same, almost every year. Certainly, if one of the triplets takes special hormones, or one contracts a lengthy disease, the order might change. But without an unusual event, these triplets are quite likely to grow into adulthood as they were — one relatively short, one medium, and one tall. Their rank order, not their height itself, will almost assuredly remain the same.

If we used statistics and did year-to-year rank order correlations for the triplets’ height, the result would likely be a correlation of 1.00, indicating a perfect correlation. This would inform us that the rank order of the triplets is always the same, even if their heights do actually change a bit until they are well past puberty. But even then, regardless of their actual height, their relative height is likely to be constant, and thus it probably need not be measured frequently at all. We “know” that year after year, when we measure their heights, the triplets are almost assuredly still going to be tall, medium, and short in comparison to each other, Eventually, it simply wouldn’t be worth the effort to measure their heights frequently.

Well, it turns out that the hundreds of schools in a state line up in scores just as do as the triplets. Their relative test scores — whether low, medium or high — barely change at all, year after year, regardless of the scoring system used by the standardized testing company. If the relative scores don’t change much year after year, except under some unusual circumstances, why would you need to test the students in those schools to learn how they are doing, year after year?

Here, for example, are the correlations between test scores in mathematics, from one year to the next, for every elementary school in Nebraska, for the years 2014 to 2018. Those year-to-year correlations are .93, .95, .94, .90, .95. These data inform us that if you know this year’s scores in mathematics for each Nebraska school, you know almost perfectly how those schools will test the following year. It’s the equivalent of knowing the order of the heights of the triplets this year, and thus being quite sure you would know the order of their heights were you to measure them the next year. Similarly, if you already know the standardized test scores for every elementary school in Nebraska, you don’t really need to test the next year. Next year’s ordering of Nebraska’s schools will look very much like this years’ ordering of its schools. So why not skip a year or two of testing, and save millions of dollars and millions of instructional hours?

With correlations in the .90’s between last year’s test scores and this year’s test scores, as was empirically obtained, you certainly don’t need to test every year to know how the schools in Nebraska are performing. If big changes in a school’s performance did occur, you’d certainly pick that up through testing every other year. Apparently, unless a schools catchment area changes, or is rezoned so it has a big shift in population, or it must deal with a natural (earthquake) or man-made disaster (a school shooting) that upends the school community, a school’s standing in a pool of standardized test scores will not change much from year to year.

We repeated our analyses in another state, at other grade levels, and for other subject matters. For example, here are the correlations for one year’s standardized achievement test scores in reading, with the following years’ achievement test scores in reading, for all of Texas’s middle schools, over five years: .92, .91, .91, .93, .93. As in Nebraska, knowing this year’s standardized test score informs us almost perfectly what next year’s test score will be. We know how each school will perform because of its previous score. The rank order of a school, vis-a-vis every other school in the state, is quite stable. Mandated achievement tests in Nebraska and Texas need not be given every year to answer the question: How is this school doing? Testing every other year in Nebraska and Texas, and we suspect in all other states, would yield the same information desired by those concerned about how the schools are doing academically.

But it gets better, and thus even more millions of dollars might be saved! Presented next are the correlations between tests of reading given two years apart on Texas’s middle school reading test (.89, .89, .89, 90). And here are the correlations between tests of reading given two years apart for Nebraska middle schools (.92, .95, .91, .97). In other words, almost the same rank order of schools will be present in Nebraska and in Texas if you tested every third year, saving the states a gazillion dollars in money and time, and it would also reduce the annual surge in the test anxiety of thousands of U.S. students, teachers, and parents.

Testing every third, or every second year, results in virtually no loss of information for district, state or federal agencies. We are not recommending doing away with the assessment of student achievement by means of standardized achievement tests, but we are pointing out that we seem to have overdone it. Testing annually eats up a great deal of instructional time and a large amount of money but yields little new information for states, districts and schools.

To those who say that “the teachers need the standardized test results to know how their students are doing,” we have two answers. First, experienced teachers already know how their students are doing in relation to their states’ recommended curriculum, and they don’t need a standardized test to provide them with that information. Research evidence informs us that experienced teachers are quite good at predicting the rank order of each of their students on their own states’ standardized achievement tests.
The other answer to this tired rationale for standardized testing is related to scheduling. The tests are typically given in spring. Test results are, therefore, usually analyzed over the summer months. Test results, by necessity, are given back in the fall of the calendar year, to teachers who have already passed their students on to teachers in the next grade! The information about student achievement, when teachers no longer have those students, comes too late to make any midcourse corrections in their instruction.

And some have argued that achievement testing has value for school administrators, who might then be able to identify exemplary and ineffective teachers from the test performance of the students those teachers had the previous year. But that is no easy identification to make, since each year’s classroom level achievement test data is greatly affected by the kinds of students a teacher was assigned. Substantial differences in achievement test scores occur for teachers depending on the numbers of second-language learners, or students with high absentee rates or special-education students who were assigned to their classrooms. In fact, even classes with slightly more girls than boys generally score higher on tests than classes with more boys than girls. So, inferring teacher competence from standardized test results is quite problematic.

Now that this research article has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, we wonder which state will be first to petition the federal government for a waiving of the current testing requirements? Will the federal government grant such waivers, or are its policies immutable? We are pretty sure that a state choosing to test every third year, or every other year, will save millions of dollars and millions of instructional hours, with no loss of the information it believes to be useful. A reconsideration of our nation’s assessment policies is surely warranted.

In 2009, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution scrutinized test score gains in the city’s public schools and discovered a number of schools where the gains seemed improbable. The story triggered intense scrutiny by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Eventually nearly three dozed educators were charged with changing answers on the standardized tests from wrong to right in hopes of winning a bonus and pleasing their superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall, who put pressure on all teachers to raise scores or be humiliated.

During Beverly Hall’s tenure, the Atlanta district was celebrated for its miraculous test score gains, and she won recognition as Superintendent of the Year. She was the poster educator supposedly proving the “success” of No Child Left Behind. What she actually proved was that NCLB created perverse incentives and ruined education.

The facade of success came tumbling down with the cheating scandal.

After the investigation, Beverly Hall was indicted, along with 34 teachers, principals, and others. All but one of those charged is black. Many pleaded guilty. Ultimately, 12 went to trial. One was declared innocent, and the other 11 were convicted of racketeering and other charges. Beverly Hall died before her case went to trial.

The case was promoted by then-Governor Sonny Perdue. Ironically, the rise in Atlanta’s test scores was used by the state of Georgia to win a $400 million Race to the Top award.

One of those who was punished for maintaining her innocence was Shani Robinson, who was a first-grade teacher. She is the co-author with journalist Anna Simonton of None of The Above: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, Corporate Greed, and the Criminalization of Educators.

I reviewed their book on the blog. While reading her book, I became convinced that Shani was innocent. As a first-grade teacher, she was not eligible for a bonus. Her students took practice tests, and their scores did not affect the school’s rating. Yet she was convicted under the federal racketeering statute for corrupt activities intended to produce financial gain. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), was written to prosecute gangsters, not school teachers. Her conviction was a travesty.

Investigators offered Shani and other educators a deal: Plead guilty and you can go free. Or, accuse another teacher and you can go free. She refused to do either. She maintained that she was innocent and refused to accuse anyone else. Shani was accused by a teacher who won immunity. Despite the lack of any evidence that she changed scores, she was convicted.

Two Atlanta lawyers wrote a blog post in 2020 describing the Atlanta cheating trial as a legal outage:

The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) “cheating” scandal is a textbook example of overcriminalization and prosecutorial discretion gone amok, compounded by an unjust sentence of first-time offenders to serve years in prison. It is a glaring illustration of a scorched-earth prosecutorial mindset that has sparked a movement of reform-minded prosecutors nationwide — one which has yet to be embraced in Atlanta.

Just this past week, the six remaining educators who have insisted on their innocence went before the same judge who found them guilty. Their public defender asked to be excused from the case because he thought it was a conflict of interest to represent all six defendants. The original prosecutor, Fani Willis, continues to believe the six educators should be imprisoned. Willis is now prosecuting the case of whether former President Trump interfered in Georgia’s election in 2020.

The six educators who insist they are innocent have lived in a state of suspended animation for more than a decade. They have not gone to prison, yet. They have lost their reputations, their jobs, their teaching licenses.

They hoped that Judge Baxter might use the hearing to dismiss their case. Shani asked me to write a letter supporting her. I did.

It didn’t matter. Judge Baxter decided that the defendants should get a new public defender and return for another hearing. The case has already cost millions of dollars and is the longest-running trial in the history of the state.

The judge ordered them to return to court with their new lawyers or public defenders on March 16. At that time, the entire appeals process might start again and take years to conclude.

I contacted my friend Edward Johnson in Atlanta to ask him what he thought. Ed is a systems thinker and a sharp critic of the Atlanta Public Schools‘ leadership, which is controlled by corporate reformers who make the same mistakes again and again instead of learning from them.

Ed wrote me:

Prosecuting teachers and administers was morally wrong to begin with. Continuing to prosecute any of them is doubly morally wrong. Teachers and administers were the real victims of Beverly Hall. So prosecuting them means being willfully blind to ever wanting to learn truths about anything that would help Atlanta avoid doing a Beverly Hall all over again.

I agree.

Arthur Camins—teacher, scientist, technologist— argues in The Daily Kos that it’s time for Democrats to abandon their support for charter schools. Are you listening, Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado, Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and other charter allies?

Camins writes:

It is time for Democrats–voters and the politicians who represent them–to abandon charter schools as a strategy for education improvement or to advance equity. Charter schools, whether for- or non-profit, drain funds from public schools that serve all students, increase segregation, and by design only serve the few. Continuation of tax generated funds for charter schools, all of which are privately governed, support the current broader assault on democracy. That should not be the way forward for democracy loving Democrats. In addition, public support for private alternatives to public education suborns the lie that government cannot be the agency for solving problems.

The United States is tilting sharply toward, if not rushing headlong into, a less equitable, less democratic, more authoritarian, more racially divided, and meaner way of governing and living together. Out-for-youselfism is alarmingly rampant. Sadly, continued bipartisan state and federal support for charter schools that pit parents against one another for limited student slots reflects those tendencies.

We have been heading in that direction for decades, led by pro-wealth, anti-regulation billionaires and corporations allied with Christian religious extremists and ideological libertarians. Exacerbating extant racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic resentment is their core strategy. It is represented by a Republican Party whose only moral compass is power and for whom democracy is an expendable inconvenience.

Republican opposition to equity advances for all people, such as the National Labor Relations Act, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, and Medicare, is nothing new. However, until the emergence of the Republican-light Democratic Leadership Council, there was a strong pro-government, pro-worker, if frequently inconsistent, opposition political party. In the absence of an explicit effort by Democrats to articulate a rationale for a multi-racial, working-class coalition, resentment flourished. Instead, many Democrats embraced deregulation and campaign cash, including contributions from the charter school industry.

This Republican-light Democratic shift could not have come at a worse time, as globalization and automation threatened the livelihood of many Americans, shaking the foundations of post-WWII perception of security, especially for many white working- and middle-class Americans. As scarcity and inequity came to be accepted as the unalterable norm, advances for some–left-out people of color, recent immigrants, and women–came to seen as coming at the expense of others. In that context, charter schools appealed social and economic insecurity.

Nonetheless, Democratic politicians from Bill Clinton to Barrack Obama embraced charter schools. The essential notion was that take-all-comers schools governed by locally elected school boards for the common good were an old-school failure. The supposed evidence was the failure to close the achievement gaps between kids from poor and well-off households. The fact that family socio-economic status explains most of the achievement gaps was ignored in favor of a blame-the-teacher and their unions ethos and test-driven blame. In supporting charter schools Democrats implicitly endorsed a competitive watch–out-for-my-own kid ethos. It is time for a new direction.

Even with substantial evidence of rampant corruption and increased segregation, national Democratic leadership has yet to fully abandon the belief in charter schools as an improvement strategy. In doing so, they abet the ongoing Republican claim that government and democracy are incapable of effective problem solving. Opposition to for-profit charter school and vouchers is insufficient. Increased oversight and rejection of for-profit charter schools is, of course, a positive step. However, the notion of schools as primarily a personal rather than a social benefit and that market-competition as an improvement driver remains intact.

Step away from charter schools, Democrats. Instead, embrace full equitable funding for all schools. Embrace professional salaries, respect, and working conditions for teachers. Embrace union protection. Embrace community schools to meet the needs of children and their families. Embrace small class size so every child can get the academic, social, and emotional supportthey need. Embrace schools to develop socially responsible citizens for a democratic equitable society.

That is the way forward for Democrats and Democracy!

Tom Ultican is one of the very best chroniclers of the “Destroy Public Education” movement. He was thrilled to discover a new book that explains the origins of the attack on public schools and calls out its founding figures. Lily Geismar’s Left Behind is a book you should read and share. It helps explain how Democrats got on board with policies that conservative Republicans like Charles Koch, the Waltons, and Betsy DeVos loved. This bipartisan agreement that public schools needed to be reinvented and disrupted brought havoc to the schools, demoralized teachers, and glorified flawed standardized tests, making them the goal of schooling.

Ultican writes:

Lily Geismer has performed a great service to America. The Claremont McKenna College associate professor of history has documented the neoliberal takeover of the Democratic Party in the 1980’s and 1990’s. In her book, Left Behind: The Democrats Failed Attempt to Solve Inequalityshe demonstrates how Bill Clinton “ultimately did more to sell free-market thinking than even Friedman and his acolytes.” (Left Behind Page 13)

When in the 1970’s, Gary Hart, Bill Bradley, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, Paul Tsongas, and Tim Wirth arrived on the scene in Washington DC they were dubbed “Watergate Babies.” By the 1980’s Tip O’Neill’s aid Chris Mathews labeled them “Atari Democrats” an illusion to the popular video game company because of their relentless hi-tech focus. Geismer reports.

“Journalist Charles Peters averred that ‘neoliberal’ was a better descriptor. Peters meant it not as a pejorative but as a positive. … Neoliberals, he observed, ‘still believe in liberty and justice and a fair chance for all, in mercy for the afflicted and help for the down and out,’ but ‘no longer automatically favor unions and big government.’” (Left Behind Pages 17-18) [Emphasis added]

Democrats in search of a “third way” formed the Democratic Leadership Council to formulate policies that moved them away from unions, “big government,” and traditional liberalism.

Historian Arthur Schlesinger labeled the DLC “a quasi-Reaganite formation” and accused them of “worshiping at the shrine of the free market.”

Union pollster Victor Fingerhut called them “crypto-Republicans.”

Douglas Wilder a black Virginia politician criticized their “demeaning appeal to Southern white males.”

Others called them the “conservative white caucus” or the “southern white boys’ caucus.”

Jesse Jackson said its members “didn’t march in the ‘60s and won’t stand up in the ‘80s.” (Left Behind Pages 46-47)

In 1989, From convinced Bill Clinton to become the chairman of the DLC. That same year the DLC founded the Progressive Policy Institute to be their think tank competing with the Heritage Foundation and the CATO Institute. Today, it still spreads the neoliberal gospel.

This is an important book that explains how the Democratic Party lost its way.

Jan Resseger has established a reputation for writing well-researched, fearless articles about unjust education policies. In this post, she reviews a new book about the roots of corporate education reform. I have already ordered it.

She writes:

I remember my gratitude when, back in 2010, I sat down to read Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System, which connected the dots across what I had been watching for nearly a decade: the standards movement, annual standardized testing, the operation of No Child Left Behind’s test-and-punish, Mayor Bloomberg’s promotion of charter schools in New York City, and the role of venture philanthropy in all this.

Now over a decade later, many of us have spent the past couple of months worried about pushback from the charter school sector as the the U.S. Department of Education has proposed strengthening sensible regulation of the federal Charter Schools Program. We have been reminded that this program was launched in 1994, and we may have been puzzled that a federal program paying for the startup of privately operated charter schools originated during a Democratic administration.

Lily Geismer, a historian at Claremont McKenna College, has just published a wonderful book which explains how the New Democrats—Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and the Democratic Leadership Council—brought a political and economic philosophy that sought to end welfare with a 1996 bill called the “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” and envisioned privately operated charter schools to expand competition and innovation in the public schools as a way to close school achievement gaps. Geismer’s book is Left Behind: The Democrats’ Failed Attempt to Solve Inequality. The book is a great read, and it fills in the public policy landscape of the 1990s, a decade we may never have fully understood.

In the introduction, Geismer explains where she is headed: “Since the New Deal, liberals had advocated for doing well and doing good. However, the form of political economy enacted during the new Deal and, later, the New Frontier and Great Society understood these as distinct goals. The architects of mid-twentieth century liberalism believed that stimulating capital markets was the best path to creating economic growth and security (doing well). The job of the federal government, as they saw it, was to fill in the holes left by capitalism with compensatory programs to help the poor, like cash assistance and Head Start, and to enact laws that ended racial and gender discrimination (doing good). In contrast, the New Democrats sought to merge those functions and thus do well bydoing good. This vision contended that the forces of banking, entrepreneurialism, trade, and technology… could substitute for traditional forms of welfare and aid and better address structural problems of racial and economic segregation. In this vision, government did not recede but served as a bridge connecting the public and private sectors.” (p. 8)

Geismer devotes an entire chapter, “Public Schools Are Our Most Important Business,” to the Clinton administration’s new education policy. She begins by telling us about Vice President Al Gore’s meetings with “leading executives and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. The so-called Gore-Tech sessions often took place over pizza and beer, and Gore hoped for them to be a chance for the administration to learn from innovators of the New Economy…. One of these meetings focused on the problems of public education and the growing achievement gap between affluent white suburbanites and students of color in the inner city…. The challenge gave venture capitalist John Doerr, who had become Gore’s closest tech advisor, an idea… The tools of venture capital, Doerr thought, might offer a way to build new and better schools based on Silicon Valley’s principles of accountability, choice, and competition… Doerr decided to pool money from several other Silicon valley icons to start the NewSchools Venture Fund. NewSchools sat at the forefront of the concepts of venture philanthropy. Often known by the neologism philanthrocapitalism, venture or strategic philanthropy focused on taking tools from the private sector, especially entrepreneurialism, venture capitalism, and management consulting—the key ingredients in the 1990s tech boom—and applying them to philanthropic work… Doerr and the NewSchools Fund became especially focused on charter schools, which the Clinton administration and the Democratic Leadership Council were similarly encouraging in the 1990s.” (pp. 233-234)

As she explains, the Clinton administration bought the idea that charter schools would be an effective way to end poverty. It encouraged the growth of the charter sector, not realizing that it was creating an industry that would fight accountability, lobby for more federal funding, and ignore frequent scandals and frauds.

It is a cautionary tale that reminds us that the best way to fight poverty is to raise incomes, create jobs, and support labor unions that will defend the rights of working people and advocate for higher wages and benefits.

Journalist Jennifer Berkshire and historian Jack Schneider wrote a warning in the New York Times to the Democratic Party about education. Democrats, they say, used to have a big advantage over Republicans on the education issue, but that advantage has almost disappeared. They say that Democrats have erred in celebrating education as the most important, if not the only, route to economic success. Meanwhile, they ignored trade unions, which dwindled under red state assaults and corporate attacks, and tax policy, which favored the rich.

While I don’t disagree with their analysis, I have a different take on why Democrats lost the education issue. Not only did they ignore growing economic inequality, but Democrats abandoned their historic devotion to public schools (attended by 90% of American students) and adopted the Republicans’ long-standing belief in choice, competition, testing, and accountability.

Thirty years later, it is indisputably clear that those policies do not improve education, do not increase opportunity for those who are at the bottom, and do not reduce economic inequality.

Under Bill Clinton in the early 1990s, the Democratic platform sounded remarkably like the Republican Party on education. Clinton and Gore pledged to create a national system of standards and tests. Their Goals 2000 legislation of 1994 laid the groundwork for George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, which had bipartisan support. The Clinton administration created the federal Charter Schools Program in 1994, which allocated a few million dollars to help start new charters; it has now grown into a charter slush fund of $440 million annually, which is strongly supported by Republicans and for which there is no need, given the many billionaires who subsidize charters.

Race to the Top was the culmination of the Democrats’ complete merger with Republicans on education policy.

The Democrats lost their primacy as the party of public schools because they embraced Republican ideology, and they ignored the causes of economic inequality, which testing, standards, and choice could not fix.

Berkshire and Schneider write:

The warning signs are everywhere. For 30 years, polls showed that Americans trusted Democrats over Republicans to invest in public education and strengthen schools. Within the past year, however, Republicans have closed the gap; a recent poll shows the two parties separated on the issue by less than the margin of error.

Since the Republican Glenn Youngkin scored an upset win in Virginia’s race for governor by making education a central campaign issue, Republicans in state after state have capitalized on anger over mask mandates, parental rights and teaching about race, and their strategy seems to be working. The culture wars now threatening to consume American schools have produced an unlikely coalition — one that includes populists on the right and a growing number of affluent, educated white parents on the left. Both groups are increasingly at odds with the Democratic Party.

For the party leaders tasked with crafting a midterm strategy, this development should set off alarms. Voters who feel looked down on by elites are now finding common cause with those elites, forming an alliance that could not only cost the Democrats the midterm elections but also fundamentally realign American politics.

The Democrats know they have a problem. One recent analysis conducted by the Democratic Governors Association put it bluntly: “We need to retake education as a winning issue.” But reclaiming their trustworthiness on education will require more than just savvier messaging. Democrats are going to need to rethink a core assumption: that education is the key to addressing economic inequality.

The party’s current education problem reflects a misguided policy shift made decades ago. Eager to reclaim the political center, Democratic politicians increasingly framed education, rather than labor unions or a progressive tax code, as the answer to many of our economic problems, embracing what Barack Obama would later call “ladders of opportunity,” such as “good” public schools and college degrees, which would offer a “hand up” rather than a handout. Bill Clinton famously pronounced, “What you earn depends on what you learn.”

But this message has proved to be deeply alienating to the people who once made up the core of the party. As the philosopher Michael Sandel wrote in his recent book “The Tyranny of Merit,” Democrats often seemed to imply that people whose living standards were declining had only themselves to blame. Meanwhile, more affluent voters were congratulated for their smarts and hard work. Tired of being told to pick themselves up and go to college, working people increasingly turned against the Democrats.

Today, as the middle class falls further behind the wealthy, the belief in education as the sole remedy for economic inequality appears more and more misguided. And yet, because Democrats have spent the past 30 years framing schooling as the surest route to the good life, any attempt to make our education system fairer is met with fierce resistance from affluent liberals worried that Democratic reforms might threaten their carefully laid plans to help their children get ahead.

Please read the rest of their article.

Jennifer Berkshire, expert education journalist and co-author of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, writes in The Nation about the forces driving teachers out of the schools.

She interviewed many teachers who explained why they were leaving. Some cited ”the bad teacher” narrative promulgated by Arne Duncan and his insistence that teachers be evaluated, based on their students’ test scores, which is both ineffective and inaccurate. His and Obama’s “Race to the Top” was deeply demoralizing to teachers, and it accomplished nothing positive.

She begins:

Neal Patel survived teaching in the pandemic. It was the culture wars that did him in.

In the fall of 2020, Patel added two flags to the wall of his science classroom in Johnston, Iowa. Now, alongside images of energy waves and the electromagnetic spectrum were the Gay Pride rainbow flag and a proclamation that Black Lives Matter. The flags, says Patel, represented the kind of inclusive space he was committed to creating, sending a signal to all students that even in this conservative suburb of Des Moines, there was a place for them.

School administrators supported him—on one condition. “They’re just there as decoration,” Patel says. “The only time I discuss the flags is when a student asks me about them.”

Patel assumes it was a student who snapped a picture of the display. Somehow it ended up on the Facebook page of a conservative state legislator. Representative Steve Holt, who lives 100 miles from Johnston, pointed to the flags as evidence of creeping left-wing indoctrination in Iowa’s schools and encouraged his constituents to take a stand. Patel says he was shocked by the attention, then upset: “Holt thinks it’s a political issue to try to create an inclusive environment, and he’s using that to try to further divide our community.”Johnston has grown only more divided since Patel became Facebook fodder. At a school board meeting last fall, members debated whether to ban two books on race, including one by the Native American writer Sherman Alexie, after parents complained. The president of the Iowa State Senate, who represents a neighboring county, took the mic during the public comment period, calling for teachers who assigned “obscene” material to be prosecuted. Patel was in the crowd that night, to lend support to minority and LGBTQ students who’d come to speak out against banning the books. And he had an announcement of his own to make: This year would be his last as a teacher in Johnston.

The Obama administration made matters much worse for teachers when it imposed test-based evaluation as the heart of its “reforms.”

The thinking went something like this: Make teacher evaluations tougher, and teaching would get better, which would mean higher student achievement, more students graduating from college, and ultimately a country better able to outsmart China et al. “Tougher” meant holding teachers accountable for how their students fared on standardized tests…

In 2010, Colorado became one of the first states to enact a high-stakes teacher evaluation law; by 2017, nearly every state had one on the books. While the pandemic may have disrupted everything about schooling, policies like Colorado’s Senate Bill 10, with its 18-page evaluation rubric and 345-page user guide aimed at weeding out bad teachers, remain in place.

For Shannon Peterson, an English language acquisition teacher in Aurora, that meant leading her students through a writing exercise last fall as her principal observed. Peterson’s students, many of them immigrants who live in poverty, bore the pandemic heavily, she says: “The kids are stressed, all of their writing is about anxiety, and attendance is way down.”

To her delight, the students responded enthusiastically to the writing prompt she’d come up with: comparing and contrasting the Harlem Renaissance and Black Lives Matter, and how the entertainment industries in their respective eras related to both. In a year of stress and struggle for teachers and students alike, here was something to celebrate. “Excellent writing came out of this,” Peterson says.

Her principal wasn’t convinced. Peterson, he felt, hadn’t done enough actual teaching during the observation. “I just don’t feel comfortable checking off these boxes,” he told her.

The previous year, when the cash-strapped school district had offered teachers buyouts to leave, Peterson turned it down: “I felt an enormous obligation to go back for the kids and my colleagues.” After her evaluation, though, Peterson had reached a breaking point. She quit a week later, walking away from a career that spanned 23 years, 18½ of them in Aurora. “I’m not a box,” Peterson says.

Two weeks after Peterson resigned, a major study came out: The decade-long push to weed out bad teachers had come to naught. The billions of dollars spent, the wars with teachers’ unions, and the collapse in teacher morale had produced “null effects” on student test scores and educational attainment.

Please open the link and read the study. Billions of dollars wasted on ineffective and demoralizing teacher evaluations that produced tons of data but nothing else.

Last week, I posted my thoughts on “Who Demoralized the Nation’s Teachers?” I sought to identify the people and organizations that spread the lie that America’s public schools were “broken” and that public school teachers were the cause. The critics slandered teachers repeatedly, claiming that teachers were dragging down student test scores. They said that today’s teachers were not bright enough; they said teachers had low SAT scores; and they were no longer “the best and the brightest.”

The “corporate reform” movement (the disruption movement) was driven in large part by the “reformers'” belief that public schools were obsolete and their teachers were the bottom of the barrel. So the “reformers” promoted school choice, especially charter schools, and Teach for America, to provide the labor supply for charter schools. TFA promised to bring smart college graduates for at least two years to staff public schools and charter schools, replacing the public school teachers whom TFA believed had low expectations. TFA would have high expectations, and these newcomers with their high SAT scores would turn around the nation’s schools. The “reformers” also promoted the spurious, ineffective and harmful idea that teachers could be evaluated by the test scores of their students, although this method repeatedly, consistently showed that those who taught affluent children were excellent, while those who taught children with special needs or limited-English proficiency or high poverty were unsatisfactory. “Value-added” methodology ranked teachers by the income and background of their students’ families, not by the teachers’ effectiveness.

All of these claims were propaganda that was skillfully utilized by people who wanted to privatize the funding of public education, eliminate unions, and crush the teaching profession.

The response to the post was immediate and sizable. Some thought the list of names and groups I posted was dated, others thought it needed additions. The comments of readers were so interesting that I present them here as a supplement to my original post. My list identified No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core as causes of demoralization that tied teachers to a standards-and-testing regime that reduced their autonomy as professionals. One reader said that the real beginning of the war on teachers was the Reagan-era report called “A Nation at Risk,” which asserted that American public schools were mired in mediocrity and needed dramatic changes. I agree that the “Nation at Risk” report launched the era of public-school bashing. But it was NCLB and the other “solutions” that launched teacher-bashing, blaming teachers for low test scores and judging teachers by their test scores. It should be noted that the crest of “reform” was 2010, when “Waiting for Superman” was released, Common Core was put into place, value-added test scores for teachers were published, and “reformers” like Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and other became media stars, with their constant teacher-bashing. For what it’s worth, the National Assessment of Educational Progress flatlined from 2010 onwards. Test score gains, which were supposedly the point of all this “reform” activity, were non-existent on the nation’s most consequential test (no stakes attached).

Readers also blamed demoralization on teachers’ loss of autonomy, caused by federal laws and the testing imposed by them, and by the weakness of principals and administrators who did not protect teachers from the anti-education climate caused by NCLB, RTTT, ESSA, and the test-and-punish mindset that gripped the minds of the nation’s legislators and school leaders.

Readers said that my list left off important names of those responsible for demoralizing the nation’s teachers.

Here are readers’ additions, paraphrased by me:

Michelle Rhee, who was pictured on the cover of TIME magazine as the person who knew “How to Fix American Education” and lionized in a story by Amanda Ripley. Rhee was shown holding a broom, preparing to sweep “bad teachers” and “bad principals” out of the schools. During her brief tenure as Chancellor of D.C., she fired scores of teachers and added to her ruthless reputation by firing a principal on national television. For doing so, she was the Queen of “education reform” in the eyes of the national media until USA Today broke a major cheating scandal in the D.C. schools.

Joel Klein, antitrust lawyer who was chosen by Mayor Bloomberg to become the Chancellor of the New York City public schools, where he closed scores of schools because of their low test scores, embraced test-based evaluation of schools and teachers, and opened hundreds of small specialized schools and charter schools. He frequently derided teachers and blamed them for lagging test scores. He frequently reorganized the entire, vast school system, surrounding himself with aides with Business School graduates and Wall Street credentials. Under his leadership, NYC was the epitome of corporate reform, which inherently disrespected career educators.

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, billionaire funder of charter schools and of candidates running for state or local offices who supported privatization of public schools. He claimed that under his leadership, the test-score gap between different racial gaps had been cut in half or even closed, but it wasn’t true. He stated his desire to fire teachers who couldn’t “produce” high test scores, while doubling the size of the classes of teachers who could. His huge public relations staff circulated the story of a “New York City Miracle,” but it didn’t exist and evaporated as soon as he left office.

Reed Hastings, billionaire funder of charter schools and founder of Netflix. He expressed the wish that all school boards would be eliminated. The charter school was his ideal, managed privately without public oversight.

John King, charter school leader who was appointed New York Commissioner of Education. He was a cheerleader for the Common Core and high-stakes testing. He made parents so angry by his policies that he stopped appearing at public events. He was named U.S. Secretary of Education, following Arne Duncan, in the last year of the Obama administration and continued to advocate for the same ill-fated policies as Duncan.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education despised public schools, unions, and teachers. She never had a good word to say about public schools. She wanted every student to attend religious schools at public expense.

Eli Broad and the “academy” he created to train superintendents with his ideas about top-down management and the alleged value of closing schools with low test scores

ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council), which writes model legislation for privatizing public schools by opening charters and vouchers and lowering standards for teachers and crushing unions. More than 2,000 rightwing state legislators belong to ALEC and get their ideas directly from ALEC about privatization and other ways to crush public schools and their teachers.

Rupert Murdoch, the media, Time, Newsweek, NY Times, Washington Post for their hostility towards public schools and their warm, breathless reporting about charter schools and Teach for America. The Washington Post editorialist is a devotee of charter schools and loved Michelle Rhee’s cut-throat style. TIME ran two cover stories endorsing the “reform” movement; the one featuring Michelle Rhee, and the other referring to one of every four public school teachers as a “rotten apple.” The second cover lauded the idea that teachers were the cause of low test scores, and one of every four should be weeded out. Newsweek also had a Rhee cover, and another that declared in a sentence repeated on a chalkboard, “We Must Fire Bad Teachers,” as though the public schools were overrun with miscreant teachers.

David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core, which undermined the autonomy of teachers and ironically removed teachers’ focus on content and replaced it with empty skills. The Common Core valued “informational text” over literature and urged teachers to reduce time spent teaching literature.

Margaret Raymond, of the Walton-funded CREDO, which evaluates charter schools.

Hanna Skandera, who was Secretary of Education in New Mexico and tried to import the Florida model of testing, accountability, and choice to New Mexico. That state has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the nation, and the Florida model didn’t make any difference.

Governors who bashed teachers and public schools, like Chris Christie of New Jersey, Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Gregg Abbott of Texas

“Researchers” like those from the Fordham Institute, who saw nothing good in public schools or their teaching

Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, who turned Denver into a model of “reform,” with everything DFER wanted: charter schools and high-stakes testing.

Poorly behaving students and parents who won’t hold kids accountable for bad behavior

Campbell Brown and the 74

The U.S. Department of Education, for foisting terrible ideas on the nation’s schools and teachers, and state education departments and state superintendents for going along with these bad ideas. Not one state chief stood up and said, “We won’t do what is clearly wrong for our students and their teachers.”

The two big national unions, for going along with these bad ideas instead of fighting them tooth and nail.

And now I will quote readers’ comments exactly as they wrote them, without identifying their authors (they know who they are):

*Rightwing organizations like the American Enterprise Institute, (AEI), the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, the Heritage Foundation, even the allegedly Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) for publishing white papers masquerading as education research that promotes privatization.

*Wall St moguls who invented Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) to gamble on & profit from preK student test scores.

*Rogues Gallery. One body blow after another. A systematic 💦 water boarding with no respite. And then we add the Broad Foundation who sent Broad-trained “leadership” so drunk on arrogance and ignorance that the term “School Yard Bully” just doesn’t capture it.
Operating with the Imprimatur and thin veneer of venture capital, plutocratic philanthropy, these haughty thugs devastated every good program they laid eyes on. Sinking their claws instinctively into the intelligent, effective and cultured faculty FIRST.A well orchestrated, heavily scripted Saturday Night Massacre.

*Congress and the Presidents set the stage, but the US Department of Education was instrumental in making it all happen. They effectively implemented a coherent program to attack, smear and otherwise demoralize teachers. And make no mistake, it was quite purposeful

*This list is incomplete without members of Democrats for Education Reform. Add in Senator Ted Kennedy, whose role in the passage of No Child Left Behind was critical. Same for then Congressman and future Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who noted (bragged!) in his recent autobiography that he was essential in keeping President George W. Bush on track with NCLB.

*Let’s not forget Senate Chair Patty Murray. She has been an important player in keeping the worse of Ed Reform legislation alive.

*You have presented a rogue’s gallery of failed “reformers” that have worked against the common good. In addition to those mentioned, there has also been an ancillary group of promoters and enablers that have undermined public education including billionaire think tanks, foundations and members of both political parties. These people continue to spread lies and misinformation, and no amount of facts or research is able to diminish the drive to privatize. While so called reformers often hide behind an ideological shield, they are mostly about the greedy pursuit of appropriating the education that belongs to the people and transferring its billions in value into the pockets of the already wealthy. So called education reform is class warfare.

*The Clintons, whose 1994 reauthorization of ESEA set the stage for NCLB

*Don’t forget the so called ‘liberal’ media, publications such as the New York Times and the Boston Globe who have published pro charter piece after pro charter piece, while simultaneously dumping all over public schools

*I’d like to include a cast of editorialists like George Will, Bill Rhoden, and many others, who have parroted the plutocratic-backed Ed Reform line. Armstrong Williams would certainly be part of this.

*Going back even further into the origins of this madness, I would add to Diane’s excellent rogues gallery those unknown bureaucrats in state departments of education who replaced broad, general frameworks/overall strategic objectives with bullet lists of almost entirely content-free “standards” that served as the archetype of the Common [sic] Core [sic] based on the absurd theory that we should “teach skills” independent of content, all of which led, ironically, to trivialization of and aimlessnessness in ELA pedagogy and curricula and to a whole generation of young English teachers who themselves NOW KNOW NEXT TO NOTHING OF THE CONTENT OF THEIR SUBJECT, typified by the English teacher who told one of the parents who regularly contributes comments to this blog, “I’m an English teacher, so I don’t teach content.” So, today, instead of teaching, say, Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” as part of a coherent and cumulative unit on common structures and techniques and genres of poetry, one gets idiotic test-practice exercises on “inferencing” and “finding the main idea,” with any random piece of writing as the “text.”

*It’s driven by how teachers have been treated the past 4-5 years, especially during the pandemic. Teachers are first responders. We should have been on the list of first-to-be-vaccinated. Schools should have strict mask and vaccine mandates. Teachers are professional educators. We should not be told what and how to teach by ignorant, conspiracy-driven MAGA parents. Public education is a cornerstone of democracy, and we teachers are motivated by a sense of civic duty. We are demoralized by attempts to destroy public education, led by anti-education bible-thumping “leaders” like Betsy DeVos and (in my home state) Frank Edelblut. Public education is being dismantled by gleeful right-wingers, while naive, well-intentioned moderates wring their hands and do little to defend it. It’s tiring to be under constant attack on the front lines, with no support. That’s why teachers are leaving today.

*One tiny example of a routine phenomenon. Teachers got the message pretty clearly: They were at the bottom of the pecking order. The absolute bottom. Micromanaged and undercut at every turn.Excellent points. The heavy handed top-down, bureaucratic demands for “data,” basically serve one goal, to justify the existence of administration.Don’t forget the voracious appetite of publishing companies…We had a district administrator prance around in our “professional; development days” tell use could not read novels or other picture books to the students…ONLY USE PEARSON.”And then 7 or so years later, the district made us THROW OUT every book from Pearson, and they bought new crap curriculum…that program was written by testing industry, not educators, I think it was “Benchmark,” real junk.

*I’d like to mention how I often lose my student teachers when they see the edTPA requirement. They switch majors, and the teaching pool gets even smaller.

*After Skamdera in NM came the TFA VAM sweetheart Christopher Ruszkowski. At least he had 3 years in a classroom, Skammy had none, but the Florida model, you know?

*Children’s behavior is in large part in response to the drill and kill curriculum and endless testing and teaching to the test that has been driving public education since NCLB and the back-to-basics movement that ushered it in. No room for creativity, no room for self expression, no room for innovation. Highly scripted Curriculum like Open Court turned children into little automatons, barking their answers like well trained dogs and turned teachers into task masters. It was a drive to dummy down the curriculum for fear of teaching too much free thinking. And a drive to turn teachers into testing machines and teacher technicians, easily replaced by anyone who can walk in a classroom and pick up the manual. Only it doesn’t work. It was and is developmentally inappropriate and the resulting rebellion in the classrooms if proof of that. No wonder teachers are leaving in droves!

*Under threat of closure of the MA school board in the mid 1800s, Horace Mann turned to the cheapest labor he could find, literate northern females, and deployed the Protestant ethic “teacher as a calling” trope to institute state free-riding on teachers (as opposed to the free-riding of which teachers are accused). Everything in this piece is correct except for the “almost” in the final paragraph. There’s no “almost” about it … free-riding on teachers is an operational feature of a system imported from Prussia, designed to produce cheap, obedient labor by underpaying women. As of 2012, teachers would need to make around 1/3 higher salaries to be paid on the same level as their professional peers. Everyone mentioned in the article is simply this generation’s enactment of the long-standing, systemic class war that preys on gender and race to continue and exacerbate inequity. While naming the current situation is very important, we also need to discuss, address, and shift these deep issues.

*It’s the boiled frog effect over the last 50 years that began as a response to mini-courses, sixties curriculum, obsession over college attendance, professors and teachers walking out to protest with their students, Viet Nam… and the Civil Rights Act. Since 1964, Intentional segregation influenced Local, state, and federal decision making on transportation, health care, insurance, zoning, housing, education funding, hiring, and more. When whites fled the cities and insured two sides of the tracks in towns and two systems evolved, quick fixes became that accumulation of bad decisions and leadership – and slowly, slowly, deterioration became acceptable.

*The list is not dated. It’s illustrative of the accumulation of negativity, quick-fix seeking, acronym-filled, snake-oil salesmen, desperate mayors and governors, obsession with rankings, publisher fixation on common core, NCLB votes hidden under the shadow of 9/11, and keep-everyone-happy state and national professional organizations.

*At the end of 2021 it is far right and left of politics and their rhetoric like CRT and homophobic slurs. So much for especially the “Christian Right.” In their god’s (yes lower case since not The Lord Jesus Christ’s New Testament words of love) name they exclude instead of include to share the good news/word.

*Data, data, data. Yesterday, I commented that I feel sympathetic toward the anti-CRT petitioners. I do. They’re not bad people. They’re just afraid of changing social rules. Their actions are demoralizing, but not dehumanizing. Wealthy corporations and individuals on the other hand , through their untaxed foundations, gave carrots to governments the world over to give the stick to education so that greater profits could be made through privatization and data monetizing. I was once called a 2. I was once labeled the color grey. I was numbered, dehumanized by test score data in an attempt to make education like Uber or Yelp. Not just demoralized, dehumanized. It’s not just who but what dehumanized teachers. It was the wrongheaded idea that education can be measured and sold by the unit. That idea was insidious. The marketing ploy to make my students into consumers who consider their efforts junk unless they are labeled with the right number or dashboard color was insidious. I have no sympathy for the investor class. They are not people with whom I disagree about social issues; they are hostile, corporate takeover wolves out to tear the flesh of the formerly middle and deeply impoverished classes for profit. Not one of the investors in education “reform” or any of their revolving door bureaucrats is any friend of mine. The list of who is long. The list of what is short.

*Jonah Edelman (Founder, Stand on Children); brother Josh Edelman (Gates Foundation: Empowering-?!–Effective Teaching; SEED Charter Schools); Charles & David Koch. Pear$on Publishing monopoly&, of course, ALEC (interfering in our business for FIFTY long years!)

Who is responsible for the widespread teaching exodus? Who demoralized America’s teachers, the professionals who work tirelessly for low wages in oftentimes poor working conditions? Who smeared and discouraged an entire profession, one of the noblest of professions?

Let’s see:

Federal legislation, including No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.

George W. Bush; Margaret Spellings; Rod Paige (who likened the NEA to terrorists); the Congressional enablers of NCLB; Sandy Kress (the mastermind behind the harsh, punitive and ultimately failed NCLB).

Erik Hanushek, the economist who has long advocated for firing the teachers whose students get low test scores; the late William Sanders, the agricultural economist who created the methodology to rank teachers by their students’ scores; Raj Chetty, who produced a study with two other economists claiming that “one good teacher” would enhance the lifetime earnings of a class by more than $200,000; the reporters at the Los Angeles Times who dreamed up the scheme of rating teachers by student scores abd publishing their ratings, despite their lack of validity (one LA teacher committed suicide).

Davis Guggenheim, director of the deeply flawed “Waiting for Superman”; Bill Gates and his foundation, who funded the myth that the nation’s schools would dramatically improve by systematically firing low-ranking teachers (as judged by their students’ scores), funded “Waiting for Superman,” funded the Common Core, funded NBC’s “Education Nation,” which gave the public school bashers a national platform for a few days every year, until viewers got bored and the program died; and funded anything that was harmful to public schools and their teachers; President Obama and Arne Duncan, whose Race to the Top required states to evaluate teachers by their students’ scores and required states to adopt the Common Core and to increase the number of charter schools; Jeb Bush, for unleashing the Florida “model” of punitive accountability; and many more.

We now know that ranking teachers by their students’ test scores does not identify the best and the worst teachers. It is ineffective and profoundly demoralizing.

We now know that charter schools do not outperform public schools, as many studies and NAEP data show.

We now know that public schools are superior to voucher schools, and that the voucher schools have high attrition rates.

We now know that Teach for America is not a good substitute for well-prepared professional teachers.

Who did I leave out?

We have long known that students need experienced teachers and reasonable class sizes (ideally less than 25) to do their best.

Given the vitriolic attacks on teachers and public schools for more than 20 years, it almost seems as though there is a purposeful effort to demoralize teachers and replace them with technology.

Nancy Bailey has assembled a devastating review of a three-decades long effort to destroy the teaching profession and replace it with models derived from the corporate sector.

She begins:

The pandemic has been rough on teachers, but there has for years been an organized effort to end a professional teaching workforce by politicians and big businesses.

In 1992, The Nation’s cover story by Margaret Spillane and Bruce Shapiro described the meeting of President H. W. Bush and a roomful of Fortune 500 CEOs who planned to launch a bold new industrial venture to save the nation’s schoolchildren.

The report titled, “A small circle of friends: Bush’s new American schools. (New American Schools Development Corp.),” also called NASDC, didn’t discuss saving public schools or teachers. They viewed schools as failed experiments, an idea promoted by the Reagan administration’s A Nation at Risk, frightening Americans into believing schools were to blame for the country’s problems.

The circle believed their ideas would break the mold and mark the emergence of corporate America as the savior of the nation’s schoolchildren.

The organization fell apart, but the ideas are still in play, and corporations with deep pockets will not quit until they get the kind of profitable education they want, for which they benefit.

They have gone far in destroying public education and the teaching profession throughout the years, not to mention programs for children, like special education.

Here are the ideas from that early meeting, extracted from The Nation’s report, with my comments. Many will look eerily familiar.

. . . “monolithic top-down education philosophy,” which disrespected teachers, parents and communities alike.

NCLB, Race to the Top, Every Student Succeeds Act, and Common Core State Standards disregarded teachers’ expertise and degraded them based on high-stakes test scores.

These policies also left parents and communities feeling disengaged in their schools.

Please open the link and read the rest of this perceptive post.