That is what many in the education reform movement would like for you to believe. That claim - that US schools are "failing," that we are "falling behind the rest of the world," that American kids are "losing the ability to compete in a global market" has driven the education reform movement since at least 1983 when "A Nation at Risk" was published. And that claim drove the passage of No Child Left Behind, as well as the recent push for Common Core State Standards, PARCC and SB standardized testing, and the Race-to-the-Top school funding (blackmail) initiative. But what if it weren't true? What if it is more complicated than that? What if the proposed solutions do nothing to address, much less solve, the problem?
Mathematics teacher explains the reality in a must-see Tedx speech at the University of Arkansas.
In his criticism of the "toxic culture" surrounding education reform, Joshua Katz asks us to consider the realities behind the claims. The most interesting point for me was the connection to "The Incredibles" theory of villains, whereby a villain actually creates the problem that he will then be the only one who can solve. The idea that corporate education interests exploited the belief that schools were failing in order to push through legislative agendas that allow them to sell more educational materials and tests is not as far-fetched as many might think. For, there are many American schools producing world-class students who do not need new national learning standards and accountability tests in order to perform.