Market-Oriented Education Reforms’ Rhetoric Trumps Reality:
The Impacts of Test-Based Teacher Evaluations, School Closures, and
Increased Charter School Access on Student Outcomes
in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
A new report from the Broader, Bolder Approach to Education employs comparable, reliable data across three high-profile “reform” districts to gauge the impacts of these policies and compare them with other large urban districts. Overall, the results are not promising. Reformers’ promises of higher test scores and narrower achievement gaps failed to materialize. Indeed low-income and minority students gained less ground and lost more in these cities than in their less reform-oriented counterparts. Data also disprove reform leaders’ claims of success in each city; when state test scores were recalibrated to comparable standards, disaggregated by subgroup, and compared with more reliable NAEP scores, asserted gains largely vanished. Moreover, test-based decisions regarding teachers and schools led to churn, instability, and less experienced and qualified teachers in low-income schools, but not to improved student outcomes.
At the same time, smaller, less prominent policies that suggest real potential to boost low-income students’ achievement have been largely lost in the hype. Reformers have not elevated these promising policies in their national reform agendas, they are not being scaled up or replicated, and some are at risk of being cut back. Moreover, all three cities’ failure to address substantial poverty-related impediments to learning make real, sustained progress very unlikely.
Please join us for the release of the report, featuring a distinguished panel of education experts who will discuss the findings and their policy implications at the district, state, and federal levels.
Moderator: Elaine Weiss, National Coordinator, Broader, Bolder Approach to Education
Dr. Joshua Starr, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools
Rep. Tim Walz, U.S. House of Representatives (D-MN) (invited)
DCPS teacher (TBA)