For a Progressive Massachusetts, Invest in Quality Public Education for Every Child

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1 Presentation by Lisa Guisbond Progressive Mass Policy Conference March 24, 2013 Lasell College For a Progressive Massachusetts, Invest in Quality Public Education for Every Child

2 Public Schools in the Spotlight The Good News: A discussion about equal access to high quality education. The Bad News: Problems used as a pretext for policies that can cause damage.

3 Public schools need resources, support, and advocacy Children need a rich and varied curriculum, not classrooms driven by onesize-fits-all standardized tests. All children should have equitable opportunities to learn. To be effective, school improvements must involve parents, teachers, students and the community.

4 An unfinished fight to address educational inequities The 1993 MA Ed Reform Law responded to legal action claiming vast inequities in school funding. Families still fight for equity and quality.

5 Raise the Foundation Mass Budget and Policy Center: "foundation budget is short $2.1 billion. CPS, along with many education and civic groups, support raising the "foundation budget" to an adequate level.

6 What else threatens our public schools? A corporate approach to education that does not answer the needs of a diverse, democratic society, says education historian and author Diane Ravitch: The free market loves competition, but competition produces winners and losers, not equality of educational opportunity.

7 High-Stakes Testing High-stakes testing has turned too many classrooms into highly focused, data-driven test prep centers.

8 Is this the way to inspire learning?

9 This one-size-fits-all approach culminated in No Child Left Behind.

10 Ten years later, NCLB has failed to meet its goals. Burdened schools with costly and destructive testing mandates. Done little to accelerate achievement or close achievement gaps. Labeled more than 80% of Massachusetts schools as failures, despite our state s number 1 status on NAEP. Spawned cheating and other forms of corruption.

11 National Research Council Report The available evidence does not give strong support for the use of test-based incentives to improve education. The benefits of these incentives, the group said, have been small or nonexistent.

12 What is the toll in Massachusetts? Thousands of students denied diplomas because of as little as a few points on a standardized test. Millions of state education dollars diverted from struggling districts to charter schools. Charters, like Gloucester, approved for political reasons, despite a deeply flawed proposal. Teachers blamed for circumstances beyond their control, while schools go begging for basic resources. Promises of equitable resources, a level educational playing field and closed opportunity gaps remain unfilled.

13 What influences school success?

14 Race, Poverty and Achievement

15 What s Next? Common Core Assessments More grades tested, with more testing per grade New tests are a mixed bag but remain high stakes. Poor districts will have to cut instructional staff and other basic services to divert money to testing. Tech and test companies are enthusiastic about potential profits, but many states now realizing they lack funds for necessary technology.

16 Good News: National rebellion against high-stakes testing Boycotts, testing opt-out campaigns, demonstrations, and community forums spreading in cities like Austin, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Denver and Providence.

17 Around the U.S., Teachers, Parents and Students Resist Testing Misuse

18 MA Statement Against High-Stakes Testing "The past decade of high-stakes standardized testing in our schools has created college classrooms where the crucial skills of critical thinking and expression are eclipsed by concerns for what s on the test?

19 Income Inequality and Education MA s No. 1 on NAEP status masks ongoing large disparities in achievement, graduation, and college-going rates. MA also has experienced the country's second-biggest increase in income inequality, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Census data. If goal is a level playing field, driven by equal access to quality education, backdrop of growing income inequality looms as a large problem

20 What are CPS and FairTest doing to work for change? EDUCATING ADVOCATING ORGANIZING

21 Future progressives need critical thinking skills, not test prep!

22 References National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). org Citizens for Public Schools. Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) Multiple Choice: Charter School Performance in 16 States. Stanford University. Guisbond, L. et al NCLB s Lost Decade for Educational Progress: What Can We Learn from This Policy Failure? FairTest. Hout, M. & Elliott, S. Editors Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education. Committee on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Public Education. National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences

23 More References Ravitch, D American Schools In Crisis, Saturday Evening Post. Schuster. L Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget s Core Education Program. Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. Skinner, K Charter School Success or Selective OutMigration of Low-Achievers? Effects of Enrollment Management on Student Achievement. Centers for Educational Policy and Practice, Massachusetts Teachers Association.

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