Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ Doomed to Fail

MEDIA ROOTSForty years ago, Finland began transforming its educational system to a more personalized methodology of teacher to student learning as part of the government’s economic recovery plan. Finland’s youth has since shot up to the highest in the world in reading, math and science skills.

Conversely, America’s impersonal initiation of marketplace competition into its educational system has caused the US to fall behind.

According to AFP:

The three-yearly OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

Although Obama has slammed his predecessor’s controversial ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation, he has implemented the same broken concept of a standards based education reform into his administration’s ‘Race to the Top’ policy.

Diane Ravitch, educational policy analyst and former US Assistant Secretary of Education, claims that President Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ program will further weaken the country’s education process by embracing the following key elements: regular teacher evaluations in accordance with students’ test scores, privatizing schools with low test scores, mass firings in low-performing schools and making states compete for federal money with test ratings.

This current educational model of standardization is inherently flawed. By basing a complete faith in standardized testing statistics to determine the competence of teachers and abilities of children, there is a human element eliminated from the equation– an element that Finland has incorporated as the main pillar of their education strategy.

Read full article on Media Roots – Standardizing Education is Not the Answer.

Written by Abby Martin, photo by Brett Smith

www.mediaroots.org

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