I have been writing about education lately and some of you are asking what this has to do with Class Warfare. Simply, the monied interests and corporations have bought our political process and bought our judges (enough of them) that they now have enough energy (and money) to open up a new front in the war: public education. They want it privitized. They want the governmenent out of public education, because profit-making, private companies can do such a better job. (Where they get these notions is beyond me as there is no proof of this.) The first place to make money is in test creation and administration and billions of dollars is scheduled to be spent. New York’s experience will be typical.
* * * * *
It has been widely reported that New York State has introduced new tests to measure how students are doing against the “Common Core” curriculum and that the results were abysmal to say the least. The average number of students deemed “proficient” was in the low 30’s percent. And this is a state which prides itself on having some of the best public schools in the nation.
The comments from state officials and even the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, were along the lines of “ah ha, I thought so” and “see, teachers have been lying to parents about their children’s proficiency.”
This, of course, is utter nonsense and is part of the corporate hostile takeover of public education. The strategy, apparently, is to bad mouth the system, bad mouth teachers, bad mouth teacher’s unions, and then set up systems that “prove” that public schools are dismal so that corporate “saviors” can swoop in and make large profits “fixing” the problem. Setting aside the data that show that the corporate efforts so far are proving at best to be no better than current schools, this can be shown to be the sham it is by some very simple logic.
“In other words, the grades given out by teachers, without the Common Core curriculum etc., were hugely
better judges of whether students were college ready than the test the “reformers” used to establish the
standards that showed New York students doing so poorly.”
Regarding the New York State tests, they were supposed to point to students being “college ready.” Obviously fourth graders aren’t college ready but they could be determined to be “on track” to being “college ready.” That’s the way the test’s pass/fail standards were set up. The interesting thing is that the movers and shakers behind this project used the scores of students on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, er Scholastic Assessment Test, uh, now just called the SAT standing for whatever. Here’s the problem: research has found that high school GPA (grade point average) is three to five times more important in predicting college graduation than an SAT score. In other words, the grades given out by teachers (unionized teachers!), without the Common Core curriculum etc., were better judges of whether students were college ready than the test the “reformers” used to establish the standards that showed New York students doing so poorly at becoming college ready.
So, why are these “reformers” using poorly predictive numbers to establish standards to guide the teaching of our youth. The only answer is because they want public schools to be seen as “failing” so that the corporations and foundations (the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation, etc.) which wrote the Common Core Curriculum can start to cash in.
Again, I ask: are we this gullible? If we are, we deserve what we get, but do your children deserve to be treated as corporate chips in a financial flimflam game?