Education ‘reforms’ have been a failure

The Dec. 8 News editorial, “Fixing Education,” bemoans the performance of American teenagers on recent tests under the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Leading proponents of education reform seem to believe that the major purpose of education is to produce test scores. If so, we must conclude that the policies and procedures of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002), the Race to the Top (2008) and other “reforms” have been abject failures. Referring to U.S. test scores on the PISA, the editorial states, “These figures have been consistent, since PISA was first administered in 2000.” If there is to be accountability in education, why are these “reforms” still imposed on public education even though they have proven to be both worthless in achieving their stated goals and destructive in their implementation?

The editorial adds that “Parents who rail against the Common Core standards are condemning their kids in a world that’s become smaller and more competitive.” Since the standards were not field-tested, and there is no evidence that they raise test scores, why are parents accused of “condemning” their kids when these parents refuse to join the official clamor that Common Core Standards are the newest magic solution to “fix” education?

Education officials persist in imposing “reforms,” costly in both dollars and the waste of precious years. The implementation of the untested Common Core standards and associated assessments on their watch has been inept at best. Officials refuse to accept the evidence that the “reforms” in fact have deformed education, demeaned and demoralized hard-working teachers and are turning students into automated test takers. Why is there no demand for accountability from these officials for their failed job performance?

Adeline Levine