X steps forward; X-1 steps back

A major bummer for New York City public schools: the still-fresh scab over an appalling achievement gap has been viciously re-opened. Yes, the differences in test performance between racial groups are back. After several years of remarkable improvement among African-American and Hispanic students, the 2010 state test scores paint a portrait less of remarkable progress than a cancer that was merely in remission.

I wish I had something positive to add here, but I’m at a loss tonight. Really, this just highlights how deep the problems within our education system run, and how much work remains to be done. If anything, education policy must evolve beyond test scores to encompass things such as student development and the ability to learn new material, rather than just regurgitating rote knowledge.

If we want to prepare our students for the broad and complex world in which we live, we absolutely must do better. There are many out there who are currently working towards this, but this is an issue facing everyone, not just the experts. We must demand excellence not only from our teachers and schools, but also from ourselves as responsible citizens whose job it is to prepare the next generation to face the problems of tomorrow.

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