What Hope for Education?
My Patch column, this week, questions whether there’s much room for optimism about educational success in Rhode Island public schools over the next couple of years:
… the 2010 [NECAP] test was to be the first on which graduation actually would depend. It was do or die for students to achieve at least “partially proficient,” and 38% did not. All stops should have been pulled; the urgency among educators should have been near frantic…an extra-effort, contracts-out-the-window kind of frantic. Yet, I can’t think of a single concerted example of such dedication amidst the past few years of budget battles, contract negotiations, and work-to-rule actions.
And the result? A mere six percent proficiency gain. It’s as if the education establishment knew that the requirements would never hold. …
When the tests actually count again, the state will have been guided for two years by a union-friendly governor and his hand-picked education bureaucracy. More importantly, educators have now tested the resolve of the state to allow real consequences for systematic failure, and the state proved there to be none. Gist blinked, and at this time, reforms appear to have lost political teeth, rather than gaining them.