This entire article is about what happened this summer with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the Race to the Top intiative. The author blogs regularly, and this article is from one of her blogs; she took the summer off, so this post is mainly her catching up on what happened.
She makes it very clear that she disagrees with these intiatives, stating that teachers are losing the chance to teach what they find to be important and only being able to teach those areas that will help their students score satisfactorily on the state achievement tests. I completely agree with her; I find it ludicrous that teachers are being evaluated on their students' ability to be good test-takers. It is not fair that schools are having their budgets cut and teachers are being placed on probation because they are not teaching to the test. I wish there was a way to evaluate teachers in an effective manner without relying on test scores. Standardized tests can only prove so much...
The author also discusses the ways certain schools and even the government is handling the results of the standardized tests. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan rewarded the Los Angeles Times for listing in the newspaper names and pictures of teachers they deemed inadequate. Furthermore, major civil rights groups issued a statement discussing their opposition to NCLB and Race to the Top and scheduled a press briefing, but were "persuaded" by Duncan to cancel the briefing and release the statement without incident.
I completely agree with Ravitch in that NCLB and Race to the Top are hurting our schools rather than helping. One can only hope that as schools fail to meet the government's expectations, Secretary Duncan and President Obama re-think their methods of "helping."