Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, April 1, 2013

Atlanta's testing scandal

I highly recommend these two excellent articles on Atlanta's testing scandal: Atlanta test cheating: Tip of the iceberg? by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post and Ex-Schools Chief in Atlanta Is Indicted in Testing Scandal by Michael Winerip in the New York Times. Both emphasize the connection between the widespread testing scandals and current policies and practices associated with corporate-style school reform,  No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top.

Writes Strauss:
In New York City, for example, Joel Klein became chancellor of the largest public school system in the country in 2002 and proceeded to institute a no-excuses mentality, attacking teachers unions, closing public schools and pushing the expansion of charter school. He touted a rise in standardized test scores, until, that is, it became clear that the test score improvements were phony. In 2010, state officials revealed that scores had been inflated, and thousands of parents who thought their children were performing on grade level learned that they weren’t. Klein quickly left his job and went to work for Rupert Murdoch.
Writes Winerip:
What made Dr. Hall just about untouchable was her strong ties to local business leaders. Atlanta prides itself in being a progressive Southern city when it comes to education, entrepreneurship and race — and Dr. Hall’s rising test scores were good news on all those fronts. She is an African-American woman who had turned around a mainly poor African-American school district, which would make Atlanta an even more desirable destination for businesses.

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