[nytimes]What Tests Can't Fix/Wellstone&Kozol
- Subject: [nytimes]What Tests Can't Fix/Wellstone&Kozol
- From: Gabie Gedlaman - AZ Standards <gabieg@AZSTANDARDS.ORG>
- Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 08:30:16 -0700
- Comments: To: azstandards <email@example.com>
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
March 13, 2001
What Tests Can't Fix
By PAUL WELLSTONE and JONATHAN KOZOL
ASHINGTON - This is now a familiar story: A public school system in a major
city is burdened by impoverished students, insufficient funding and decrepit
buildings. The students receive shamefully low math and reading scores on
mandatory state exams. And politicians and business leaders condemn the
schools as dysfunctional.
It was not always like this. As late as 1950, cities spent more, per pupil,
than their suburbs in 10 of the 12 largest metropolitan communities in the
United States. The pattern began to change when white families left the
schools in urban neighborhoods, eroding the tax base on which those schools
depended. By 1964, seven of these major cities spent less than their suburbs
did - a pattern of reversal that soon became routine.
By the mid-1970's, governments were removing libraries and art programs from
schools and failing to provide even modern sanitation in worn-out buildings.
If any public anger was evinced at all, it was directed at the children and
their parents; it never translated into help. Providing kids with preschool
education (universalizing Head Start, for example) was too costly, we were
told. So was lowering class size.
Now, against this history, the Bush administration would give these schools
four years to turn around from decades of abandonment: President Bush
proposes that unless they meet the same standards as their more affluent
counterparts they should lose part of their already inadequate funding. The
Bush plan is also overly reliant on standardized tests that fail to assess
more than a narrow slice of student learning.
President Bush, who says that education is his top priority, last month
announced a tin-cup budget proposal that includes only a meager $2.5 billion
increase for education beyond the $2.1 billion Congress appropriated in
advance for the current school year.
Last year, by comparison, Congress increased education spending by $6.5
billion (including the $2.1 billion advanced funding). Mr. Bush's new
spending increase is smaller than increases in four of the last five years.
In this time of surplus, we are told we cannot afford to spend significantly
more on education though we are being asked to swallow a huge tax cut that
disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Mr. Bush's education budget is
silent on making any increase in funding for Title I programs that aid poor
and disadvantaged students.
Educational reform must include holding schools accountable for the success
of their students. But even the hardest-working children and their teachers
will not know success until we give our poorest schools the tools that
affluent schools already have at their disposal. If George W. Bush wants our
children and their teachers to be accountable for their performance, it is
time for us to hold him accountable for his.
Paul Wellstone is a senator from Minnesota, and Jonathan Kozol is the
author, most recently, of "Ordinary Resurrections."
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
ADR;WORK:;;1739 E Silver Creek Rd;Gilbert;AZ;85296;USA
LABEL;WORK;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:1739 E Silver Creek Rd=0D=0AGilbert, AZ 85296=0D=0AUSA
Post a Message to arn-l: