The Oxymoron of Corporate Education Reform Exposed by the Results of the International PISA Test

17 Apr

The foundation of the U.S. corporate education reform movement is built on a house of cards that alleges there are too many incompetent teachers in America’s public schools, and that using standardized high stakes test to rank teachers based on student test scores will reveal who those teachers are.

But today the corporate education reformers have unwittingly provided evidence that they are totally wrong with the same data they want to use to root out these alleged incompetent teachers and then also close public schools with the worst scores.

“New York State education officials released data showing that the top-rated teachers, based on student test scores, are less likely to work in schools enrolling black and Hispanic students.” NY State Released Junk Science Ratings by Diane Ravitch

Why are the corporate education reformers wrong? reports, “There is an achievement gap between more and less disadvantaged students in every country; surprisingly, that gap is smaller in the United States than in similar post-industrial countries, and not much larger than in the very highest scoring countries.”

If the alleged claims of the corporate education reformers were correct, that means—according to the results of the international PISA tests—teachers who work with disadvantaged students in every country are also incompetent and should lose their jobs.

But … here’s the twist: “Achievement of U.S. disadvantaged students has been rising rapidly over time, while achievement of disadvantaged students in countries to which the United States is frequently unfavorably compared – Canada, Finland and Korea, for example – has been falling rapidly.”

This tells us that the alleged incompetent teachers in the U.S.—who work with the most disadvantaged students—are the most competent (incompetent teachers) in the world.

How can America’s public school teachers be incompetent when the disadvantaged students they work with are outperforming the disadvantaged students in every country PISA tests—even Canada, Finland and Korea? An oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

The corporate education reformers have hung themselves with the same noose they intended to put around the necks of public school teachers in the United States.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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One response to “The Oxymoron of Corporate Education Reform Exposed by the Results of the International PISA Test

  1. drext727

    April 17, 2015 at 12:10


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