Friday, September 6, 2013

Testing and Choice Are Destructive - Diane Ravitch- author of the forthcoming "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools."

Street Procession- Hoboken @ 1940's
Here are excerpts from a recent column by Diane Ravitch on challenges facing the New York City public schools and serves as a general model for many school districts across the county. You can read the full article by clicking HERE. -Dr. Petrosino 

In 2002, two events had a deep impact on education: President George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg gained control of the New York City public schools. Both relied on testing, choice and accountability. Neither was successful. What should the new mayor do?

The new mayor needs to abandon the cramped vision of the past decade. Testing, choice and accountability are a strategy to close schools and privatize them. Testing has become the be-all and end-all of schooling. Too much testing crushes creativity and imagination and obliterates the joy of learning. Tests should be used diagnostically, to help students and teachers, not to punish or reward teachers and close schools.

The new mayor should ask, “How can I make sure that there is a good public school in every neighborhood? What can I do to make sure that all children have access to the kind of education I would want for my own child?”

Asking those questions shifts the conversation away from testing and measurement. It means that the mayor must identify the elements of a good education and do what is necessary to provide it.

A good education means that all students have the opportunity to study the arts, history, civics, mathematics, foreign languages, the sciences and literature. It means that students have physical education every day. It means that the school has access to a medical clinic for children who are ill or who need to be checked for dental care or eyeglasses. It means that the school has the guidance counselors and social workers for children and families who need them

The new mayor’s goal should be a great education for all students, one that meets their needs and strengthens their families and communities. -Diane Ravitch

Photo Credit: Lynn Evans