Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It's all about the budget, or where the money goes reflects one's priorities

The President has announced his budget for the coming year, and surprise! Education spending is flat, healthcare (medicare and medicaid) is cut by $200b and defense spending is up $200b. While I understand we are in a war (much as I hate it), what this Administration is doing to public education and students is killing me. More and more schools are "under corrective action" and they are not getting the support they need to effect the changes that NCLB calls for.

I really have to ask (tongue-in-cheek, of course), where the nation's priorities lie? Test scores don't really tell us what students are learning, and they certainly don't reflect their ability to think critically or not. So many people are on the standards and testing bandwagon, but no one is talking about how students learn, the conditions in which teaching and learning occurs, etc. And few people want to acknowledge the fact that the schools cannot work independently of the larger social and economic realities that are out there. It's what Lawrence Cremin talked about in the 1980's: schools do not operate in a vacuum. They cannot be expected to ameliorate the ills of society alone.