The problem with the US educational system is as Mr. Tyson suggests, but that only hits the surface of the problem. Here’s the real problem; the US public educational system is not for profit, and despite that, the US public educational systems produce hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars, of profits every year, but only for the CEO’s and shareholders of publishers McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and other producers of educational materials and educational reform. In other words, what is best for their profits determines what educational reform is and will become, and what is good for children is the last thing on the minds of these corporate CEOs.
That’s right. That’s why the educational reform that school districts are forced to accept are all about students taking tests and nothing more. Guess who produces the tests for profits, and who fight in the halls of the US congress, the white house, state legislatures, and school districts for more testing and educational programs that are often ineffective, and simply place more pressure on teachers and administrators.
These publishers are also aligned with conservative politicians who demand teacher accountability based on the success or failures students have on these tests. This public relations campaign is one way to put pressure on teachers, but it also takes the attention of most citizens off of why these tests are so important; these tests produce very important profits by redistributing tax dollars to the corporations mentioned above.
McGraw-Hill and Pearson are publicly traded limited liability corporations whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is also a publicly, traded limited liability corporation whose stock is traded on NASDAQ.
The direction of profits and share prices are the only way for a board of directors of any major corporation to know how well the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are doing their jobs. When profits are going up, especially at a steady, well regulated, rate, dividends rise, and investors are enticed to purchase shares. This pushes share prices up, and makes CEOs look like they’re doing a swell job. However, if profits are declining, typically share prices follow, and CEOs in these situations are at risk of losing their jobs.
That’s why the CEO’s of the above mentioned corporations push for more and more student testing.
In reality, these tests have nothing to do with measuring student achievement or improving public education. They’re all about improving corporate profits and share prices. Otherwise, educational reform would be something more than students taking test after test.
Finland has the highest rated public educational system in the world. They also have the least tested students in the world, while the US has the most tested students. That’s because Wall Street and the testing corporations run the show in the US and they don’t in Finland.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is correct that adults write the legislation impacting education in the USA, but I don’t think he understands why they do what they do in the halls of power. Educational reform in the USA is all about money and redistributing it from the taxpayers footing the bill for public education (mostly the 99 percent), to the 1 percent who are the CEOs and shareholders (mostly the 1 percent) of the publishing corporations.
Educational reform is simply a big con job perpetrated by the 1 percent on the 99 percent. That’s one of the ways the political and economic games in the US are rigged against the 99 percent.