Getting Education Reform Right
Today's education policy is "merely treating the fever we see and ignoring the cancer that causes it," writes John Kuhn, a Texas superintendent, in a powerful column on CNN. Kuhn cities the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign's "2020 Roadmap" as the vision to lead the systemic change needed in our public schools in order to provide every student with a fair opportunity to learn.
Kuhn is critical of the policymakers who ignore the evidence on the root causes of achievement gaps and instead promote experimental reform strategies designed to privatize the public school system:
"There is plenty of blame to go around, but none for politicians who through their funding shenanigans cynically rob opportunity from the very same children who end up failing their tests in startling numbers.
This approach continues to ignore the mounting evidence that reform focused exclusively on outcomes actually widens the achievement gap. It also amounts to a refusal to fix the growing inequities in educational funding that exacerbate student underachievement and pose the biggest roadblock to teacher effectiveness. This leaves our teachers – who are being asked to do more with less everyday – continuously on trial under NCLB. Meanwhile, our lawmakers escape scrutiny for not passing policies that will help alleviate these inequities and remediate other out-of-school factors, such as poverty, homelessness and lack of adequate health care – all of which have conclusively devastating effects on student test scores."