Friday, April 27, 2012

In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed that teachers should “stop teaching to the test” and that the nation should “reward the best ones” and “replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.”

This all sounds sensible, but it is in fact a contradictory message.

The president’s signature education program, called Race to the Top, encourages states to award bonuses to teachers whose students get higher test scores (they are, presumably “the best ones”) and to fire teachers if their students get lower test scores (presumably the teachers “who just aren’t helping kids”). If teachers want to stay employed, they must “teach to the test.” The president recommends that teachers stop doing what his own policies make necessary and prudent.

Diane Ravitch, "How, and How Not, to Improve the Schools" New York Review of Books

Notes

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