Kyle Feldscher tells a tale of horror and woe about to befall public education in Michigan if something isn’t done about it right now. According to his article, “Michigan risks falling behind traditionally low-achieving states in public education” a report shows Michigan’s children are achieving so poorly in public schools the state’s ranking could possibly slip to Arkansas levels of bad.
The 48 page report, which offers no real data about anything remotely happening in Michigan’s public schools, instead insists that Michigan is not only failing poor black and Hispanic kids, Michigan’s schools are failing white kids too. Nothing will put the fear into parents faster than the idea that even white kids are at risk of falling behind. Why are Michigan schools failing? According to the report, because we’re not testing enough yet and fully holding teachers accountable.
Kyle Feldscher’s source for his article is a group called Michigan Achieves, who are under the umbrella of Education Trust. If you’re not sure who Education Trust is, they’re the people public schools have to thank for No Child Left Behind; that great plan to make schools go through high stakes testing to show annual progress or get their funding cut, because it makes perfect sense if a school struggles to pass a test, then the thing they will need to improve – funding – should be cut.
One of the main problems according to Education Trust’s report is that Michigan still isn’t punishing teachers enough for not doing better on a test that evaluates nothing. More than once the fact that Michigan hasn’t fallen into line with using VAM, or value added measures, to evaluate teacher’s progress is stated in the report:
While Michigan has taken some steps to improve its teaching quality, it has been slow to establish systems to improve teaching practices and elevate the profession, including a statewide system of educator evaluation and support that would give teachers the targeted feedback and data to know where they are and what they need to do to reach their goals – the kind of system that was instrumental to improving early literacy in states like Tennessee and Florida. This means that four years since the passage of tenure and evaluation reform in Michigan, almost all teachers in the state are told they are “effective” or “highly effective” no matter how much their students are learning – and many of them are not getting what they need to improve. The Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Legislature have both continued to stall on this issue – by failing to adequately implement and invest in a statewide educator evaluation and support system.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that VAM in no way accurately measures a teacher’s performance in the classroom, here is a seemingly authoritative report scolding Michigan for not implementing it already.
So now Michigan Achieves Education Trust is launching a program to improve Michigan’s schools by encouraging the state to adopt more of their recommended polices – meaning more testing, and more corporate-driven education reform to dismantle public education in the state.
The issue everyone’s forgetting is this is the same group that came up with NCLB, and NCLB failed. Why is any newspaper publishing this bunk story about a group that wants to fix Michigan’s schools, but they’re the source for Michigan’s schools doing so bad, or that their plan to fix Michigan’s public schools are more of the same failed policies?
Bill and Melinda Gates, that’s why.
The usual billionaire funders are behind Education Trust. There is a lot of money in education. Money that was just being used to fund schools and educate kids. This of course is a grievous sin to any proper capitalist. Tax payer money being spent on children, and no one profiting from it? That must stop right away! This is why organizations like Education Trust suddenly appear out of thin air to pay reporters to write horror stories about how Michigan schools are failing.
It appears that the corporate education reformers are ramping up their efforts to continue to degrade Michigan schools until only for-profit testing factories remain. That’s just the way Bill Gates wants it. Scaring parents into demanding the state do something about these failing schools – which if they’re right, are failing because the schools already implemented the program that failed from the same people, is lower than low when it comes to “reforming” anything. But it’s the kind of sleazy thing we’ve come to expect from the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates.