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ERIC Number: EJ1134640
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2159-1474
On the Origin and Political Significance of Test-Based Teacher Evaluation and Compensation
Garrison, Mark J.
Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, v4 n1 p48-67 2011
Education "reform" is unfolding at an unprecedented rate, with little public input. The most discussed factor driving this transformation is the nearly $5 billion in discretionary funding provided to the United States Department of Education (USDOE) by the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" (ARRA), known as Race to the Top (RTT). This program uses taxpayer funds to bribe states into compliance with increasingly unpopular USDOE reforms, including the use of test scores to evaluate teachers. Obama's "blueprint" for education, the administration's model for the reauthorization of the "Elementary and Secondary Education Act," likewise includes provisions for increased student testing and the use of student test scores for the evaluation of teachers based on student test scores. This article offers an analysis of these historic changes now taking place by exploring the origin and political significance of test-based teacher evaluation and compensation (TBTEC). The push for TBTEC is connected to broad changes in local and national governing arrangements as they relate to official claims that there is simply not enough money in the public treasury to support public education as in the past. The connection between demands for the radical restructuring of public education in general and TBTEC in particular, and the demand of the wealthy elite to cut spending on public education (and nearly every social program), provides an important starting point for the study of the origins of and political significance of TBTEC systems from a historical, economic, and political vantage point. To this end, the paper asks: What are the origins and political significance of current TBTEC schemes and what does this analysis suggest for effective opposition to current education "reform" efforts? The paper argues that the impetus for TBTEC is the drive of a faction of the super rich to cheapen education, with two distinct aims, especially for those students who are the object of "achievement gap" rhetoric: (1) to reduce the total financial expenditure on public schooling; and (2) to lower the quality of education by converting public schooling into a guaranteed revenue/profit generator for venture capital and other corporate and banking interests.
Buffalo State College School of Education. 1300 Elmwood Avenue Bacon Hall 306, Buffalo, NY 14214. Tel: 716-878-4214; Fax: 716-878-5301; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Race to the Top; American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A