I am a teacher in Canada and have recently been reading up on the
voucher programs that are being tried in various states through out the
US. Here in Alberta we are going through our own controversy with new
laws passed that allow public monnies to go towards "Charter schools".
Many of the readings I have done, written by both US and Canadians,
suggest to me that there is a close connection between calls for
standardized testing, the move towards 3P schools (private-public
partnerships), voucher/charter programs, and Education Management
Organizations. The issue of equity is often at the forefront of any
discussions concerning any move in the direction of "freedom of choice".
For example, in Florida the "Opportunity Scholarship Fund" allows
parents of children who attended a public school that received an "F"
under the states grading system (which I understand includes
standardized testing) can now receive vouchers to send their students to
private schools. What I find interesting is that apparently these
private school are not required to pass the state grading system.
It seems to me that under these laws it would be in the best interest of
private schools, EMOs and the like to push for standardized testing, in
order to create a marker of unsatisfied "consumers" of the public
education system, willing to pay to enter the private system.
I would be interested in any insights or comments any of the panelists
would have on this.
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