In a blog entry on The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, examined the pitfalls of recent choice and accountability K-12 school reform movements. Furthermore, he called for a higher degree of accountability and better information when it comes to ranking schools as either “good” or “bad.”
First, Schneider debunked the theory that rigid curricular standards are necessary in order to grade a school’s ability to provide quality education. “Standardized test scores provide a very narrow picture of what happens inside schools,” he said, adding that untested subjects such as history and the arts are also of value, and yet forgotten. With a solution in mind, Schneider proposed that school systems be rated according to five distinct categories: the arts, family satisfaction and involvement, teacher satisfaction and support, diversity and students’ future trajectories.
Later in his post, Schneider admitted that standardized test scores would not disappear. However, he noted, “test scores are insidiously taking hold in policy discourse and among the public as perfectly acceptable measure of quality.” Then, he called the public to action, saying, “[I]t is our job not only to resist narrow and simplistic measures of educational quality, but to demand access to the data we really need—information that allows us to make thoughtful decisions about or schools.”
This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.