The transition from middle to high school is a critical inflection point, and students who fall behind in ninth grade are at great risk of dropping out. That is why I support the Middle School Success and High School Graduation Initiative Amendment, which aims to provide struggling schools with tools to help students bridge this gap.
As the resistance continues to escalate, we will no doubt see more threats and misrepresentations. But the movement shows every sign of remaining energized and united, keeping its eyes on the prize: a more rational approach to assessment and accountability that does not turn schools into test prep centers full of fearful teachers and disengaged students.
Congress want to cut Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding, and, according to the Center for American Progress, the savings will be rerouted away from high-need schools and students like mine to low-poverty schools. What sort of vision of education is that? What sort of vision of our democracy is that?
House Republicans ironically named their No Child Left Behind reauthorization bill the Student Success Act, which attempts to gut our public education system and take vital funding away from the neediest students. This bill is paving the way for the privatization of education through the expansion of voucher programs.
The notion that we can judge success after one or two years is simple ignorance. Test scores can be valuable to students, but education is far more than a few dozen tests in Math and English. Education is not naturally a part of politics, and when politicians get involved in the details, they inevitably make a mess.
RCTs are important. They are an outstanding tool that researchers have to obtain better insights. However, RCTs need to be designed better: we need more intervention arms, better control groups, better definition and measurement of other possibly affected behaviors, and longitudinal designs including follow-ups to evaluate long-term effectiveness.