Response to Jan. 7 blog post, “Former principal now eighth educator charged in cheating probe.”
Many schools that did not cheat did not see dramatic improvement, or in many cases, any improvement at all, on the state tests. The challenges facing education are steep and extend well beyond the classroom. The intense pressure to increase test scores is not an educational solution, but is a kind of political cop-out that sets people up to fail. This is what happened with the unrealistic goals laid down by No Child Left Behind. Not one single state has achieved the goals set by this misinformed policy.
Corruption of the education system certainly took place in schools, but the real crime was committed when this law was passed. Rather than a comprehensive program to address the underlying complex social, and economic challenges, like poverty, that Philadelphia and many cities deal with, NCLB and Race to the Top reflexively address the symptoms manifest in the “achievement gap” while offering little in the way of a cure.
The writer is a teacher in a North Philadelphia public school.