“Poverty Is the Problem”: Efforts to Cut Education Funding, Expand Standardized Testing Assailed

As millions of students prepare to go back to school, budget cuts are resulting in teacher layoffs and larger classes across the country. This comes as the drive toward more standardized testing increases despite a string of cheating scandals in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also recently unveiled a controversial plan to use waivers to rewrite parts of the nation’s signature federal education law, No Child Left Behind. We speak to New York City public school teacher Brian Jones and Diane Ravitch, the former assistant secretary of education and counselor to Education Secretary Lamar Alexander under President George H. W. Bush, who has since this post dramatically changed her position on education policy. She is the author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.”