School Closings and Public Policy: The Anatomy of a Catastrophe

michael bloomberg

Mark Naison: The idea of closing low performing schools, designated as such entirely on the basis of student test scores, removing half of their teaching staff and all of their administrators, and replacing them with a new school, has tremendous appeal among business leaders and almost none among educators.

Time For “Testing As Child Abuse Suits” to Fill the Nation’s Courts

worried student

Mark Naison: When a massive threat emerges to the health and well-being of the nation’s children, action must be taken. Protecting children from abusive testing is the REAL civil rights cause of our time.

Let’s Stop Overlooking the Impact Poverty Has on Urban Students

urban school children

Mark Naison: I would like to see urban schools emphasize community involvement, artistic expression, and physical and emotional health on the part of their students.

Education Reformers and “The New Jim Crow”

school hallway

Mark Naison: Current school reform policies represent a brilliant tactic to avoid dealing with the real causes of poverty and inequality in society, while finding a convenient scapegoat in public school teachers and their unions.

Race to the Top: Squeezing the Life Out of Children

latina student

Mark Naison: Are parents and their children doomed to ten years of torture introduced in the name of “restoring national competitiveness,” “preparing young people for the job market” and “weeding out bad teachers?”

Creating Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Our Nation’s Children

black student

Mark Naison: The punitive, stress-filled environment that No Child Left Behind and Race to the Hop has created is good for no one’s children. But it is especially damaging to children who come to school hungry and fearful because their families are living on the edge.

Testing and Poverty

cuomo-wide

Mark Naison: Hearing that the governor of New York plans to raise student test scores from twenty percent to forty percent of teacher ratings just reinforces my perception that a species of insanity has overtaken those in charge of public education in the United States.

LAUSD Releases Its Own “Value-Added” Rankings of Schools

Cynthia Liu: What’s troubling is that rhetoric surrounding use of student standardized test scores–even if student performance year-over-year is compared to eliminate external influences–appears to include other measures of teacher performance, yet those other measures have never been identified.

In Defense of Public School Teachers

Mark Naison: In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in the industrialized world, with almost no social safety net to help struggling families, our teachers have to create a positive learning atmosphere in classrooms filled with young people under stress.

High Stakes Teaching: The Value-Added Sham

Sikivu Hutchinson: The value-added sham won’t help parents and communities of color struggling to achieve educational equity for youth who have already been intuitively assigned a jail cell by a public school culture marching in lockstep with the teach to the test ethos.

Racially Biased SAT Speaks to a Broken Education System

test

David Love: Is the SAT racially biased? The College Board says score disparities are due to educational inequities but the Harvard Educational Review disagrees.

Respecting Teachers

food for thought

John MacMurray: If the goal is to improve our public education system–and there is no organization or institution that cannot be improved in some way–then the most straightforward way to accomplish this is to give the highly-trained, highly-motivated professionals in the classrooms the resources they need, and let them do the job they were hired for.

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