Excerpt from the Chicago Teachers Union position paper:
Corporate reform groups such as Advance Illinois and Stand for Children claim teachers are the main factor in student academic achievement. Recent research shows otherwise: as much as 90% of variation in student growth is explained by factors outside the control of teachers. Children who do not have access to health care, who are hungry, who are exhausted from nighttime symptoms of asthma, who are fearful of violence in their communities, who do not have books or access to other informal learning at home, whose parents have limited education, whose families are constantly stressed by economic problems, and who do not go to libraries and museums in their free time are at an academic disadvantage.
These factors are highly related not only to testing outcomes, academic achievement, future education and socioeconomic success, but also to the racial, ethnic and class origins of individuals. The inequitable history of American society, politics, institutions and economic relations are at the root of these relations. As a result, when academic outcomes are averaged across subgroups such as race and class, glaring gaps appear.
Corporate reformers use the academic achievement gap to justify increasing the frequency and consequences of high‐stakes testing. These policies have nothing to do with addressing the root causes of how such gaps arise and persist in society, nor do they improve student learning. In fact, these policies typically worsen academic outcomes for students impacted by them.
A Seattle Public School parent told me…
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