Friday, February 27, 2015

What we ignore in the so-called "school failure debate"

It's actually not been much of a "debate" since the monied interests that control the momentum towards more corporate-run and private schools, along with the billions being poured down the drain in the name of testing, control most of the mainstream media's misinformation campaign.

What should be at the center of education reform is outlined clearly by Joan McRobbie.

This isn't a school problem. It's a societal problem imposed on schools, in effect increasing the likelihood of failure--or at best sporadic success--for most high poverty schools. 
It's popular to compare U.S. student achievement to that of Finland, a country with one of the highest performing school systems in the world. Tamped down in these discussions is comparison of child poverty rates: Finland's is below 5% while the U.S. rate is 22%--by far the worst level of child poverty among peer countries world-wide. 
When we choose to ignore the fact that poverty, especially concentrated poverty, drags down our schools, we've gone down the rabbit hole. In that realm we can simply bash educators when schools don't improve. Presto! We've outsourced our responsibility as a society, making it teachers' job to surmount the disadvantages we allow to blight the lives of so many American kids.