Race to the Top Leaves Children and Future Citizens Behind:
The Devastating Effects of Centralization, Standardization, and High Stakes Accountability
by Joe Onosko
While researching Race to the Top and Common Core, I found this interesting article from the Democracy in Education Journal. It gives eight reasons why he thinks RTT is a bad idea. I was more interested in those who he thought would benefit from a more centralized, nationally controlled, standardized system, with enormous financial benefit to those participating. [Otherwise known as “if you clean your room you can have a cookie”]
Here is the list of potential beneficiaries:
· Those genuinely committed to equality of educational opportunity and who believe that only a centralized, federal plan can move the nation in this direction.
· Those who believe more competition is needed to improve public schools, necessitating grant competitions (rather than proportional funding), national testing, and high- stakes accountability.
· Dominant players in the educational assessment industry who see a whole lot of profi t potential.
· Corporate America, which spends billions a year on employee training and hopes to reduce a portion of their training costs through a better education system.
· Those who believe that hierarchical, rational organization (including the power of technology, centralization, standardization, input/output models, quantitative data, and so on) is the best way to improve student achievement.
· Cash-strapped governors and state department of education leaders who see Race to the Top as the only way to access millions of dollars in desperately needed revenue.
· Free marketers and other charter- school proponents who’d like to see a partial or complete dismantling of public education by demonstrating the superiority of charters.
I was fine with the list until the last one: charter schools. I think public school education as it stands today is fine with much room for improvement. But there are many who don’t fit well into a public school. Public Charter schools, run well, fit this niche. Both of my sons would have failed miserably at the public schools in my area. Private schools weren’t an option financially – and I didn’t see much improvement in education for the money. Both of my sons have flourished at public charter schools – first with a Montessori – themed K-8, and now at a College Prep, STEM-focused high school.