Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post reports on a letter she received from David Berliner, one of the country’s most distinguished education research professors. His letter is an explanation to his students for why he will not vote for a politician who espouses he or she will improve or reform our schools. He explains that family income, housing choices, employment and health policies have far more to do with school achievement than educational policy itself.
In part, he writes, “Research demonstrates that If you know the average income, the average level of parental education, and the percentage of single-parent households in a community — just these three variables — you can predict with great accuracy the performance on the standardized test scores used by that community to judge its schools. We don’t really have to give the tests because we already can accurately predict the aggregate scores of schools and townships. It’s not the quality of our teachers or curriculum that allows such remarkably accurate predictions: Demographics allow for that. Although demographics may not be destiny for an individual, it is the best predictor of a school’s outcomes — independent of that school’s teachers, administrators and curriculum!”
Do you agree or disagree with Berliner? Please leave me a comment.