Originally posted on Cooperative Catalyst:
I am extremely critical of current trends in education policy which involve deluging schools with standardized tests and rating teachers, administrators and whole institutions based on test result. Such policies result in school disengagement on the part of students, destroy teacher morale, and magnify health problems in poor and working class communities by crowding out exercise and the arts.
Given my criticism of existing policies, skeptics have a right to ask-“What do you want to see urban schools doing that they are not doing now.” So let me take the time to lay out my own vision of what kind of things urban schools should be doing that will promote student engagement, parent involvement, teacher excitement, and transform schools into centers of community empowerment
Portions of what I am talking about are already being done by schools all over the country. I invite you to see what Professor Henry Taylor and his colleagues are doing to embed schools on the East Side of Buffalo into a larger program of community development; to visit Urban Academy on the East Side of Manhattan, an innovative multiracial high school that is project based rather than test based, and PS 140 in the South Bronx a school which has developed a museum devoted to community history; but it would be difficult to broadly implement what I recommend unless Federal and state educational policies give schools far more freedom to experiment, and reverse the current emphasis on high stakes testing.