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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Treating public schools like businesses is only making them worse |

Treating public schools like businesses is only making them worse |
Treating public schools like businesses is only making them worse
Schools have come to resemble businesses, with corporate metrics for measuring success and worse outcomes for kids

In the early 2000s, the U.S. adopted a model of education that promised to jumpstart the performance of failing students and hold teachers and administrators accountable. While well-intended, the means they employed were rooted in a market-based strategy that didn't recognize, much less address, the profound structural causes of school and student underperformance.  The three most formative pieces of education legislation of this era were the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001; the Race to the Top Act (RTTT), signed in 2009 by President Obama; and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, also signed into law by Obama. Each one doubled down on a pay-for-performance model that robs teachers of their ability to be creative and dehumanizes students.

In a recent chapter in education legislation, President Trump signed an Executive Order authorizing the use of funds from the Community Services Block Grant by students who are denied in-person learning. The order permits the use of money for a wide range of private school opportunities. This may appeal to some who are frustrated with the state of education, but it risks further draining funds from the public school system and harming the common good that is public education.

No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002 and used student test scores to gauge which schools were performing at acceptable levels. The concept of "teaching to the test" was born. And later on, Race to the Top (RTTT) was a competitive grant implemented by the Obama administration, in 2009-2010 only, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. RTTT solidified the reliance upon student test scores as a condition for increased funding. While these flagship pieces of legislation relied on components of a capitalist market supply and demand model to produce innovation, they ultimately fostered a climate of toxic competitiveness and anxiety. Sadly, in 2015 NCLB was re-authorized for 50 years as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), further cementing an educational climate of test and punish with regards to funding.

The incoming Biden administration is facing unrivaled crises of humanity. It needs to CONTINUE READING: Treating public schools like businesses is only making them worse |