WaPo: An education reform warning for Democrats

The Washington Post recently reblogged a post that appeared on the Education Opportunity Network, a new online publication edited by Jeff Bryant. Here is an excerpt from the post entitled An education reform warning for Democrats.

Holding School Accountability To Account

To answer that question, Texas-based education professor Julian Vasquez Heilig has spent a lot of time examining the results of the Texas education regime. Writing at his own website, he found, over the past decade, the state’s students have performed “poorly,” relative to other states, on the benchmark National Assessment of Education Progress exam, a.k.a “The Nation’s Report Card.

“Texas dropped 21 spots in 4th grade math, four spots in 4th grade reading, and eight spots in 8th grade reading,” Heilig observed.

“As a former employee of the Houston Independent School District, we inside the belly of the beast had access to our data and knew accountability hadn’t delivered on the scale that was being promoted in the popular press,” Heilig explained.

When Heilig and other reform-doubters warned testing pressures were producing “teaching to the test, push-out of children, and the narrowing curriculum,” they were summarily dismissed by those “still drinking the high-stakes testing and accountability Kool-Aid.”

“The reason why we’re seeing, well, what we’re seeing, after 10 years of No Child Left Behind is the fact that we didn’t close the gaps, the fact that our graduation rates haven’t gone anywhere, our dropout rates haven’t improved because Texas never did that in the 1990s,” said Heilig. “Accountability had never delivered that. It had never done it. And that’s why over the last 10 years now that we have Texas-style accountability and policy in the whole United States, the reason why it didn’t deliver is because it never delivered in Texas then.”

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