The Manufactured “We Must Save Students From Failing Schools” Myth

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First, this is not a “There are No Failing Schools” piece.  There are.  Instead this is a discussion of the “Failing” public school and the savior “Successful” private school.

Before there was state accountability a successful school was essentially defined as a school that:

1. Had satisfied parents. 2. Had satisfied teachers. 3. Was clean and well maintained. 4. Had well behaved students. 5. Had students engaged in academic tasks throughout the majority of the day.

By this rubric, essentially all schools were successful, public and private. Note: By this rubric, essentially all schools are STILL successful.

Then the state created accountability tests, under the auspices that there is a “quality education” and all students should have access to it, regardless of the school they attend or community they live in. Note: I whole-heartedly agree with the premise of a universally accessible, quality education and have based my entire career on that premise.

Based on the administration of these tests, public schools that were considered successful when there was no accountability were now arbitrarily labeled failing.  The fact that the vast majority of these now labeled “failing” schools were serving the most difficult to reach students, due to variables outside the direct control of the school, was not considered to be a valid excuse.

Now the state has a state created slate of “failing” schools and needs a solution to fix this travesty of education.  Obviously, investing in these schools and the communities that they serve is a waste of money and effort.  Instead the only fair and equitable solution is to provide vouchers for these children to attend “successful” private schools.

But how do we know these private schools are successful?  Is it due to their success on the state accountability tests?  No, private schools don’t take the state accountability tests. 

Is it due to their success in teaching hundreds of low-SES students, ESL students, and Students with Special Needs? No, these are NOT the students that make up the majority of the student body in private schools.

So how do we know?  We know that private schools are successful because the private schools:

1. Have satisfied parents. 2. Have satisfied teachers. 3. Are clean and well maintained. 4. Have well behaved students. 5. Have students engaged in academic tasks throughout the majority of the day.

Meaning that evidently the real secret to being a “successful” school is to NOT be subject to state accountability.

Now that we know the secret to school success, all we have to do to solve the “failing” public school problem is to immediately cease state testing.

So how about it, Texas Legislators, Senators, Lt Governor Patrick and Governor Abbot? Quit testing;  it works for private schools. This one act will save the state over $500 million.  This one act will immediately make all schools, once again, successful. This one act will vacate the need for vouchers to rescue all of our poor, undereducated, victim students.

Unless “failing” schools isn’t part of the problem but instead is a part of the… agenda?

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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