In spite of a decade of high stakes testing at our free public schools, our international test scores are stagnant and comfortably mediocre.
One reason is that high stakes testing is a terrible idea.
Even if it wasn’t, we use the wrong type of tests.
Even if we didn’t, we don’t have free public education.
No Child Left Behind, in spite of hopes, has not yet worked.
The plus side is our international test scores show that white and Asian students do pretty good. White Americans do as well as the Swiss. In school systems were whites and Asians or middle- and upper- classes are a large majority, we basically can experiment with ways of introducing more STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses, through things like programmatic learning.
In URM (under-represented minority) and low-SES (socio-econoimc status) schools, we do really badly. There parents are very risk conscious, and basically only want baby-sitters.
But the good news is because of the “great sort,” there are less and less high-achievement-capable students in URM and low-SES schools each year (apart from immigrant communities). In URM and low-SES schools, we should castrate the ranks of teachers and administrators as quickly as possible, and find some way of putting those schools under the controls of large local employers, such as light manufacture or semi-skilled clerical work.
Instead of leaving “no child behind,” we should have a system of trade education to leave some children behind — but not far enough behind that they hurt our society or economy.