Disagrees with Malloy’s education reforms
To the Editor:
Governor Malloy’s Education Bill 24 is supposed to be designed to close the achievement gap (how well poor and minority students perform in comparison to other students) but I cannot support it because it is based on two faulty assumptions. These two assumptions are: Redistributing money from wealthier schools to poorer schools and evaluating teacher performance will close the gap. Neither will make a difference. Here’s why.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top six states spending the most per pupil are New York, New Jersey, Alaska, District of Columbia, Vermont, and Connecticut. They average about $15, 200 per student per year.
The lowest spending states are Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi. They average about $7,300 per student per year.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average achievement gap is 22% lower for the states spending the least (24% vs. 31%). How can we explain that? It seems more money is not the answer to closing the gap.
Furthermore, according the NECS, the U.S. ranks 13 out of 36 industrialize countries in reading, 25 out of 36 in math, and 20 out of 36 in science. Something else is wrong. It’s not the money.
Finally, evaluating teachers will make no significant difference and it will probably make things worse because it takes the focus off the real root causes of the gap. Furthermore, evaluating the parts of a system will never make the whole system better. Performance evaluations have been used in businesses for more than 60 years and they don’t work there. We can’t expect them to work in schools.
What we need is fundamental transformation in schools away from the outdated industrial age model that was created 150 years ago. We need to provide autonomy to students to study their passion. We need to stop standardized tests that do nothing to measure broader abilities students need to be successful in life such as good judgment, honesty, curiosity, interpersonal skills etc. We need to help teachers to be facilitators of the love of learning and not policemen of test scores.
The governor’s bill does nothing to begin real transformation and it will do nothing to improve the achievement gap. It is a waste of time and resources and I can’t support waste. Can you?