Does Mitt Romney Have an Education Platform?
Continued from previous page
Perhaps most disturbing, however, is the fact that equitable funding has largely disappeared from the national conversation about education policy in both parties. As Saltman points out, rather than coming up with ways to distribute school resources more fairly, both Obama and Romney are casting school reform purely in terms of increased accountability and more successful outcomes. The problem is that such a framework subsumes the complex issue of high quality education under the zero-sum, win/lose logic of the free market, even though our schools are not business – nor are our children commodities.
Clearly, it no longer matters to the politicians that everyone receives equal opportunities to succeed. Social and economic class need not figure into interpreting standardized test scores anymore, and the broader context of our children’s lives is given little heed. Instead, poor test scores are the result of bad teaching alone, and punitive teacher regulations continue. The most disturbing impact of this trajectory in US education policy? The non-existent incentive to improve the public schools themselves. Instead, “losers” are taken out of the game, just as losing businesses go under. Meanwhile, the needs of individual communities and their children seem not to carry any weight at all.
Kristin Rawls is a freelance writer whose work has also appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, GOOD Magazine, Religion Dispatches, Killing the Buddha, Global Comment and elsewhere online.