10 Education Reform Tactics That Hurt Students and Don’t Improve Education

We write almost exclusively about education reform here at JTF, and there's been an awful lot to write about in recent years. At the very core of our support and objections to various reforms has always been whats best for students. This post from LAProgressive captures a lot of the problems with the current direction corporate education reform is taking us, and the negative effect it has on students

1. Deluging schools with tests in every grade and every subject beginning with pre-kindergarten, to the point where little else goes on in school but preparing for tests.

2. Pushing the arts out of a central role in the life and culture of public schools.

3. Demoralizing teachers, especially the most talented and experienced teachers, by subjecting them to evaluations based on junk science

4. Discriminating against special needs and English Language Learner (ELL) students by giving favorable treatment to charter schools which exclude or drive out such students, and forcing such students to take tests that are developmentally inappropriate for them

5. Destabilizing communities by closing schools that have been important community institutions for generations.

6. Undermining the mentoring and relationship building that are at the core of great teaching, especially in poor and working class communities, by raising class size and substituting online learning for direct instruction without thinking through the consequences of such policies on young people who need personal attention and guidance.

7. Creating such unrealistic pressure on schools, and on administrators and teaching staffs, that cheating on tests becomes endemic.

8. Giving billionaire philanthropists, and wealthy companies which provide services to schools such power over education policy smothering the voices of teachers, parents and students.

9. Replacing veteran teachers, often teachers of color, with poorly trained Teach for America Corps members,most of them white, who go through a 5 week training period before being given their own class, and often leave for other professions after their two year teaching commitment is completed.

10. Adding to mental health problems of students by spending so much on testing that school districts have to fire school counselors, and to the physical problems of students by transforming gym and recess and after school programs into test prep removing opportunities for exercise and play.

There's a lot to recognize in that list, and be worried about.