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Monday, May 29, 2023




Ah, public schools. The place where we send our children to learn, grow, and develop into functioning members of society. Or, if you're poor, the place where you send your children to be suspended, expelled, and generally forgotten about.

Yes, poverty has a significant impact on public schools. It's like the elephant in the room that everyone knows is there but no one wants to talk about. It's the reason why little Timmy can't afford a new backpack or why little Susie can't afford a tutor. It's also the reason why standardized testing measures poverty instead of actual academic achievement.

Let's talk about standardized testing for a moment. You know, those lovely little tests that we force our children to take every year to determine their academic progress. Except, they don't really measure progress, do they? They measure how much money your parents make.

If you're rich, you have access to all sorts of resources that can help you prepare for these tests. You have tutors, enrichment programs, and probably a personal chef who makes you brain food every morning. If you're poor, you have...well, nothing. Maybe a worn-out textbook from 1982 if you're lucky.

But don't worry, there's a solution! Just give poor kids vouchers to attend private or charter schools! Because nothing says "equal opportunity" like an exclusive private or charter school excluding poor, disabled, and troubled students.

And let's not forget about charter schools. Because what's better than publicly funded schools that are run by private organizations? It's like a hybrid of capitalism and education. Who needs experienced teachers and smaller class sizes when you can have a bunch of corporate executives running your child's education just to improve their bottom line?

But wait, there's more! We can also hold schools accountable for student achievement by using standardized tests, graduation rates, and college enrollment rates. Because nothing motivates teachers more than the threat of losing their jobs if their students don't perform well on a standardized test.

And if all else fails, we can just make it easier for parents to choose their children's schools. Because nothing says "freedom of choice" like forcing parents to choose between a failing public school or an exclusive private or charter school that only accepts students with perfect grades and a trust fund.

In all seriousness though, poverty is a complex issue that affects every aspect of our society, including education. We need to address it head-on and provide more resources and support for students from low-income families. We need to invest in our public schools and ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education.

And maybe, just maybe, we can stop using standardized tests as the be-all and end-all of student achievement. Because let's face it, no one wants to be reduced to a number on a piece of paper. Except maybe accountants.

RAND Study Affirms the Importance of Ameliorating Family Poverty as a School Reform Strategy | janresseger 

Why Poor Schools Can’t Win at Standardized Testing - The Atlantic 

Diane Ravitch: Standardized Testing Undermines Teaching : NPR