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Profiting from Poverty

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center has a new study out that confirms poverty- not race or standardized testing- is the best predictor of college completion. States like Florida that claim standards and testing make kids college ready are playing a dangerous game. But it is an expensive game too. Testing companies, consultants and assorted educrats make billions of dollars a year (sucked out of classrooms) on the “let’s make kids college and career ready” scam.

Since 2000 the child poverty rate has risen in all 50 states and almost half of all students in our public schools live in poverty. While politicians like Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Mike Petrilli, Randi Weingarten and Jeb Bush misled the nation about the recent PISA results- real educators knew that standardized testing generally reflects socioeconomic status. Our students who are in low poverty schools score at the top of the world on international tests. We are number one in the world with schools under the 20% poverty line.

There is no crisis in education- but a crisis in poverty. USA today recently published a great summary of this point. It was written by Oliver Thomas.

Can poor kids get a good education? Only when teachers ignore what states like Florida are doing can poor kids begin to break free from the testing shackles.

Rich and middle class kids can get arts, physical education, small classes and little testing. Poor kids get test prep. This keeps the poor trapped in a cycle of educational poverty. Part of me thinks this is what the so called “reformers” want.  Reformers need a crisis, people to blame and kids to use.

You won’t find any “failing” schools in wealthy neighborhoods now will you? States like Florida would like to create the myth of failing schools through “White Flight” and “Social Darwinism.” They practice a twisted form of neo-segregation that some call “choice.”

Each day poor kids are forced to go on computers, take endless practice tests and skill- drill-kill until the cows come home. This is criminal. And then some have the audacity of arrogance to claim there is an educational crisis? States divert billions a year to the educational testing complex. States like Florida are simply “company towns.”  Yes Ernie, our kids owe their souls to the company store. 

Profiting from poverty and keeping our kids trapped in test prep factories is a crime. Teachers must rise up and stop this. The media repeats the lie of a crisis in education. Our professional groups are in the bag. Arne Duncan is simply a CEO dispensing unmarked bills to states.

Teachers and schools save lives each day. The “reform” crowd has no idea that our goal is to create discerning adults- not global widgets. When teachers help kids find passions and offer an ear, heart and advice- that is more important than any test score.

The rich get rich and the poor get more testing. In the meantime, in between time, ain’t we got fun? (hat tip: Egan and Kahn)





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