American Schools In Crisis

An important piece by Diane Ravitch, education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education. She reminds us that our test scores have never been on the top when compared to other countries but we have led the world in innovation. Perhaps those tests are not good predictors of the future economic success of a country. Professor Yong Zhao makes some of the same points in Catching Up or Leading the Way. Ravitch asks " Is it possible that we succeeded not because of test scores but because our society encourages something more important than test scores: the freedom to create, innovate, imagine, and think differently?"

Ravitch goes on to highlight that the research doesn't support NCLB and Race to the Top. "Again, not one of these policies—not one—has any consistent body of evidence behind it. The fundamental belief that carrots and sticks will improve education is a leap of faith, an ideology to which its adherents cling despite evidence to the contrary.  Our policymakers’ obsession with standardized testing has proven to be wrong; not only does it lack scientific validation, but any parent or teacher could have told the policymakers that a heavy reliance on multiple-choice tests crushes originality, innovation, and creativity."