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Does It All Add Up? Who Should Save Public Schools?

Testing, testing. Is No Child Left Behind working for anyone? It's standardized its way through schools since 2001, troubling seemingly every teacher, parent, and student in its formulaic path. Getting all children above the mean score by 2014 is its ultimate goal even if teaching for tests is its consequence. Good magazine this month takes a look at the state of public education, how it's changing, and how it can be saved.

Philanthropists have poured well-meaning money into schools, but the question is, are they helping? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's effort to create smaller schools has seen mixed results. Smaller classes mean more attention, but it's also been hard for schools to maintain electives and extracurriculars.

On the other hand, billionaire Eli Broad's effort to run schools like businesses is even more controversial. He favors increased standardized testing, scripted curricula, merit pay, and replacing school administrators with managers, and so does his money. He even has academy that trains school leaders in the Broad way.

Money is changing the way public schools operate, and those with money, regardless of qualifications, are making the decisions. If public schools are a national treasure, shouldn't we treat them accordingly? Good calls parents to action and asks them to make noise, take a stand instead of opting out or sending their kids to nearest private school.

Is this too idealistic? Or in this age of hope, is change from the bottom up possible? Anyone, anyone? Bueller?


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