The Network for Public Education recently issued a 50-state report card
on the relative condition of the country’s public education system. New York didn’t rank as failing, but close: it got a “D."
But to be fair, the politics of teacher-bashing and union-busting have earned their desired results.
The NPE report evaluated each state on six basic criteria, which were selected based on research-based evidence of what clearly helps students succeed academically. And consideration was given to the influence that laws, policies, and practices have on state education.
For instance, New York’s investment in high-stakes testing earned it a D in the testing category due to an over-reliance on tests to determine graduation rates, student promotion, and professional evaluations. Some evaluations use a tactic referred to as Value Added Measurement to arrive at professional evaluations, even though there is no scientific evidence to suggest they are credible, the report says
New York also received a D because it embraces privatization and doesn't have strong oversight of charter schools.
Although New York earned a B for providing adequate financial support to its schools, it earned a C for not using those funds effectively, such as for lowering classroom size.
Vermont and Massachusetts are doing better than New York, and Mississippi and Texas are among the lowest ranking states, each earning an F.
Education historian Diane Ravitch heads up NPE and wrote the introduction to the report card. Her anti-charter school position may turn some people off. But how much more evidence do we need before we can accept that over-reliance on testing is not good practice, and ignoring the obvious, like smaller classroom sizes, has consequences?