In a recent article, civil rights icon James Meredith expressed his frustration with Trump and DeVos claiming that education is “the civil rights issue of our time” and that school choice is the remedy.
Today, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are attempting to improve our schools with “school choice,” vouchers, charter schools, cyber-charters, privatization, putting uncertified “temp teachers” with six weeks training into our highest-needs schools, and shackling public schools to the mass standardized machine-testing of children.
This represents a doubling-down on a quarter-century of failed bipartisan efforts at education reform, few of which have a track record of success, even when measured by the dubious metric of standardized test scores. The achievement claims of Potemkin-style “miracle schools” rarely stand up to serious scrutiny. Education is an exquisitely difficult and complex system, and there are few magic bullets, quick-fixes or shortcuts….
The main problems in American public education are poverty, decades of neglect and segregation of our high-poverty schools, and a system that is today driven not by parents and teachers but by politicians, bureaucrats, ideologues and profiteers with little if any knowledge of how children learn.
The education system has been hijacked by money, much of which is being squandered. We are wasting tens of billions of dollars annually on failed experiments, bloated bureaucracies, unproven and unnecessary technology products, and ineffective teacher professional development. A dystopian culture of constant, pointless, mass standardized machine-testing of children is crippling the schools and students it is supposed to help. The continuation of these trends threatens to hollow out and destroy our urban schools, and pull the rest of the system down with them.
Meredith goes on to explain what children today need, and what would constitute genuine reform in education.
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