Bill Gates is wrong. American education is not “broken.”
Federal education policy is broken.
Testing children until they cry is a bad idea. It is educational malpractice.
Basing teachers’ evaluation, their salary, and their tenure on student test scores is a bad idea. It doesn’t work. It is professional malpractice. The Gates Foundation has invested hundreds of millions of dollars trying to make it work. It doesn’t work. Arne Duncan has made it a cardinal principle of federal education policy. It doesn’t work.
Giving bonuses to teachers based on test scores is a failed idea. It has never worked. The U.S. Department of Education under Duncan put $1 billion into such programs. They fail.
Closing schools doesn’t make them better. It shatters communities and sends children to search for a school that will accept them. That’s federal policy. It’s wrong. It is wrong in Chicago and it is wrong everywhere else.
There is no such thing as a “failing school.” Schools are buildings. Buildings don’t fail. If the students in a school have low test scores, it is the responsibility of the superintendent to find out why and to supply the needed staff and resources to improve the school.
When schools struggle, it is the responsibility of the people at the top to help them, not to close them.
Federal education policy, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, is broken. It has failed. It must be changed.