|Massachusetts defends schools from privatization. Ranks #1 in Quality Counts.|
Edweek's annual Quality Counts report gives the nation's increasingly two-tier school system a letter grade C, as it almost always does. Thirty years of corporate-style school reform under both Democratic and Republican regimes hasn't moved the needle very much.
My problem with the report is that,in reality, there is no national school system or one set of standards for them to be graded on. This will be increasingly so during the Betsy DeVos era. So Edweek creates its own, as well as its own grading metrics.
As you can tell, I'm skeptical. What they've done here, as most of these studies do (without a mention of race or poverty, by the way) is to throw together into one pot the nations's wealthy schools with those with concentrated poverty, as if they were all one thing that could be graded on the same rubric. If the nation's wealthiest schools were separated out, they would likely get an A grade, using Edweek's indices. Resource-starved, racially isolated schools with high concentrations of children living in poverty would likely get an F. Mush them all together and you inevitably wind up with a C.
Here are the indices they use:
• The Chance-for-Success Index uses a cradle-to-career perspective to examine the role of education in promoting positive outcomes throughout an individual’s lifetime.
• The school finance analysis evaluates spending on education and equity in funding across districts within a state.
• The K-12 Achievement Index, last updated in 2016, scores states on current academic performance, change over time, and poverty-based gaps.A case could also be made for giving an F for having a highly segregated, two-tier public education system in the first place.
When the study looks at schools on a state level, it's more compelling. While the national grade is always a C, there's slightly more mobility and variance in state grades. Massachusetts, for all its social inequality, is still a wealthy state and spends more on public ed and early childhood ed, has strong teacher unions, and generally defends its public sector against privatization with a cap on charter school expansion. So as expected, Massachusetts takes first place among the states for the third year in a row, with aB grade (A- in Chance for Success).
At the bottom, as you might expect, sits Mississippi with a limited safety net, itslegacy of segregation and Jim Crow, the highest concentrations of poverty in the country, few dollars spent on public ed and no teacher unions allowed.
You don't need much of a study to figure how this will turn out. Rich will get richer. The poor will be taken over or privatized