Hillary Clinton is abandoning education reform, writes Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine.
In New York’s affluent suburban districts, test-hating parents “have joined forces with teachers unions, who see standardized tests as a tool that subjects them to unwanted accountability,” he writes.
Facing Bernie Sanders in the state’s presidential primary, Clinton is courting the “opt-out” vote.
Giving a national test once a year makes no sense, said Bill Clinton last week. Instead, he called for “investing the same amount of money in helping the teachers to be better teachers.”
How would we know whether teachers are getting better?
“Testing is an important tool to measure racial and economic equality,” writes Chait.
A report this year by Ulrich Boser and Catherine Brown at the Center for American Progress found that states that use standards-based reform have produced better outcomes for low-income children. . . . Not surprisingly, civil-rights organizations representing African-Americans and Latinos have argued to keep in place annual national testing.
. . . Bill Clinton framed his wife’s position in remarkable terms: “She thinks [the tests] are just too much, that it’s national overreach,” he said, “and the most it could ever do is to help people at the very bottom levels of achievement.”
Is “helping people at the bottom . . . so insignificant that it’s not worth doing?” asks Chait. “What a thing for a Democrat to say!”
“You can’t solve problems you don’t have information about,” says Derrell Bradford, executive director at the New York Campaign for Achievement Now, in an Ed Week story on testing flip-flops. “Saying you don’t need test data to make decisions about how to improve schools is like saying we can solve wealth inequality without income data and job reports. It’s just not real.”
African-American parents are the strongest supporters of school testing, reports Education Post. Most think tests are “fair and necessary” and “should be used to help parents identify areas where their child needs extra help.”