After all the millions spent on testing, as a state we are educationally and economically worse off than when we began to replace instruction with measurement. The best correlation to a test score remains socioeconomic status, a test score has no correlation to student success, and yet we perseverate knowing that there are significant variables that cannot be captured on a test. The premise of the reform was that having just three good teachers during the course of schooling is a boost to student outcomes, so we went to work evaluating teachers instead of improving their training. If we apply resources at the beginning of the pipeline, rather than the end, we can change things. Rather than pursue this until we are utterly spent, let’s go with what we know works.
- We know that the better educated teachers are, the better the outcomes for students, which is true even before a student begins school. If we improve requirements for teacher education, we improve student outcomes. (1,2)
- We know that if those teachers are paid well enough, they are more likely to stay, and we know that teacher experience increases student performance and attendance. (1, 2)
- We know that professional control of a classroom matters, that micromanagement by policy makers or site administrator is destructive to professional creativity and performance. (Citation pending)
We can end the soft bigotry and hypocrisy of moving resources further and further away from our diverse students while we expect them to test better. We can stop pouring millions out of our state on a course we have shown year after year to be a dead end.