This is the 13th of 20 posts I will be writing during the PARCC testing window of March 9 – April 10. If you’re interested in the growing master list of reasons we opted out of standardized tests in 2015, you can find it here.
Reason 13: Ulterior Motives
If you’ve been reading my master list manifesto of reasons to opt out of standardized testing then you know that I’ve used the last few posts to show you how standardized tests are used to manipulate the American public into believing that public education and public school teachers are failing in the United States. Test scores are the weapon of choice for those with ulterior motives because they are relatively easy to manipulate for a variety of purposes.
The “crisis” that public education faces is not a lack of performance by schools or teachers (though there are many of both in need of improvement), but rather a larger, and all-encompassing intrusion into the space of public education by those who have something to gain. I consider these interlopers with ulterior motives to be very similar to the mortgage brokers we saw spring up in every strip mall in American circa 2005. Here today, profit today, gone tomorrow when the effects of their actions are felt by the public school students and teachers who are left behind to pick up the pieces
In my estimation, those “education reformers” with ulterior motives fall into three categories, which I rank from worst to just “less bad”.
- Those who seek to profit from corporate education reform
- Those who seek to gain politically from the education “crisis”
- Those who seek to push their philosophical beliefs (choice, competition, free-markets…etc.) despite evidence that they are harmful to children
Over the next few days I’ll unpack how these ulterior motives are harming public education in general and students specifically.
It is important to note that not all people who consider themselves to be “education reformers” have an ulterior motive. There are many well-meaning people who are trying to reform public education. I don’t believe these people are “bad”, I just believe they are wrong. Many of these well-meaning folks are actually employees of public school systems, and not coincidentally, many of their paid positions were made possible by manipulations I have previously described.
For tomorrow: Profits made on the backs of test takers