Via the Public Education Network
In a costs-benefit analysis of testing mandates under NCLB and Race to the Top, Peter Smagorinsky on the Answer Sheet blog in The Washington Post writes accountability is profitable for publishing companies and school superintendents who cheat, and expensive for everyone else. The expense isn't merely the $20 billion annually in taxes to support the testing apparatus.
Teachers increasingly dislike their jobs, and according to one survey, 40 percent of new teachers nationwide are likely to leave within five years. For students, education has been reduced to the ability to fill in bubble sheets. Smagorinsky would invest the same $20 billion in a nursing staff in all schools, so kids in poverty can undertake studies with a reasonable degree of health and balance. He would expand free and reduced-price meals, and work to improve the healthiness of the offerings under these services. He would also staff school libraries with knowledgeable, helpful media specialists to direct students to books that benefit their educational development.
In general, he would invest in school infrastructure, so schools aren't falling apart at the seams. He notes he offers this proposal entirely for free, unlike in Colorado, where 35 percent of federal education money goes to consultants.
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