Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cato Institute now says School Testing is Bad...but only for Private Voucher Schools.

If testing harms private schools, why does it make public schools better? Republicans want you to believe both ideas are true.

Destroy Public Schools: Republicans are out to destroy public schools and haven’t been shy about saying so. No Child Left Behind pushed testing for everything, with the intention to fail every school by 2014. Those failures were going to force schools to go charter or private.  Fast forward to today.

The conservative loons at the Cato Institute are now tasked with making even the weakest excuses sound like good ideas…and they’re failing. They wrote this up recently:
The Fordham Institute released a “policy toolkit” proposing private schools be required to administer state tests to all students participating in a school choice program, and publicize the results. Private schools that the state deemed persistently underperforming would be expelled from the program. Fordham argues that such measures have the potential to raise student achievement and provide parents with the information needed to make better decisions about their children’s education. Though Fordham’s plan is well-intentioned, their justifications are unpersuasive and their proposal is more likely to do harm than good.
Testing Harms Private Schools? The Republican push for testing everything in public schools is now not such a good idea for private schools. Why, because they said so in this shocking and bizarre down the rabbit hole twist on something they felt so strongly about only just yesterday:
First, there is scant evidence to support Fordham’s claim that test-based accountability measures “may boost student achievement.” Fordham rests its claim on the results of but a single year in a single study of a single school choice program: the final year of the School Choice Demonstration Project’s five-year analysis of the Milwaukee voucher program. First, there is scant evidence to support Fordham’s claim that test-based accountability measures “may boost student achievement.”  
Excuses, Excuses: Despite the results, Cato believes we should give these private schools more time, more money and no tests.
Cato also conveniently and intentionally leaves out foreign nationalized standardized testing and curriculum:
A 2009 literature review of the within-country studies comparing outcomes among different types of school systems worldwide revealed that the most market-like and least regulated education systems tended to produce student outcomes superior to more heavily regulated systems, including those with a substantial number state-funded and regulated private schools. By forcing every school to administer the same tests, states would induce conformity and stifle diversity and innovation.
That’s not true in those foreign countries Cato loves so much. Their bottom line is this:
In short, the best form of accountability is directly to parents, not government bureaucrats and their tests.
Ask yourself, is that what Republicans have been saying about public schools for the last 15 years? Of course not.

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