5 Education Reform Posts Not To Ignore

Education reform in education seen through the lens of writers and teachers appears as repetitions of innovative ideas that claimed to change and improve schooling as we know it.  In a post at Education Week, Anthony Weiner suggests that education reform of any age simply offers more of the same.  In particular, he sees education reform over many decades focusing on the same themes: privatization and choice, as well as standards-based testing and accountability.  Over time, education reforms that have been suggested are moving the U.S. toward a more centralized education system, rather than a democratic system that is rooted in local communities, and schools.

For several months I have explored on this blog issues that impinge on the current reform that is based on high-stakes testing, and standardization of the curriculum.  The latest reform in science education is the development of the Next Generation of Science Standards by Achieve, Inc., in collaboration with NSTA, AAAS, and apparently, 25 states.  There are many professional educators who are writing about reform, and offering critiques based often on experiences on-the-ground in classrooms, and on educational research.

In this post I have selected five articles from online blogs that I frequently read, and use for my own research on science education, and the current status of reform in American schools.

I hope you find the articles worthwhile, as I have, and that you discover new writers who represent and write about alternatives to the current reform fiasco under the heading of standards and high-stakes testing.

Here they are.

Education Reform Posts Not to Ignore

Will National Standards Become the Operating System for our Schools?  Written by Anthony Cody, veteran science educator (Oakland, CA schools), and author of Living in Dialogue on Education Week Teacher, this article is a must read for all of us, especially science teachers.  Anthony Cody raises the important objection to the New Generation of Science Standards, as well as the Common Core Standards movement.  He suggests the standards movement is the antithesis of “autonomous professionals,” that is teachers who are “entrusted with crafting engaging lessons, and working with students in creative ways.  The standards movement kind of knocks the wind out that.  Read more ….

How Many Decades Before ‘Reform’ Becomes ‘Status Quo’?  In this Education Week post, the author traces a brief history of reform in American education starting in the 1980s with the Nation at Risk report, and going forward.  He concludes that each of the “reforms” that succeeded the back to basics reform movement of the Nation at Risk report were simply more of the same.  Read more

When Test Scores Become a Commodity. In this Education Week post, Jonathan Keller, an AP History and AP Art History teacher shows us how using student achievement test scores to evaluate teachers and administrators turns test scores into a commodity.  He says “by making student scores the basis for evaluation, the students and their scores create a market for the teachers and administrators whose livelihoods depend upon the results.”  Read more..

NCLB + RTTT = MOTS or No Child Left Behind Act + Race to the Top Fund = More of the Same. Reform in the 2000’s has been dominated by two Federal Programs, No Child Left Behind Act (2003), and the Race to the Top Fund (2010).  In this post we suggest that these two “reform” efforts have gone forward with little regard for research, but more devastating is the fact that the NCLB set into play a test-crazed culture of schooling that has led to untold cheating scandals, and undue pressure on students, teachers and administrators, not to mention parents.  Read more

Standardized Testing: The Modern Bloodletting?   Written by Vicky Davis, a technology teacher in Georgia, this post compares the modern system of testing as used in American schools to the archaic and harmful habit of draining blood from a sick person—bloodletting.  In a scathing analysis of how we use testing exhaust the minds of our students.  Read more….


About Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a writer, a former high school teacher, and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University