Have we hit a plateau in student achievement in this nation? In a paper released today, Mark Schneider suggests that yes, we have.
Schneider was asked to study student achievement in Texas over the past few years, at the time their Governor Rick Perry was a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Education Secretary Arne Duncan had suggested that Perry ran an inadequate school system, and the Fordham Institute wanted to determine whether or not that was true.
As Schneider reviews, Texas’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) over the past few years has been relatively flat, after a few years of rapid improvement. But in his research, Schneider uncovered a larger trend. And rather than blame stagnant performance on the governor, he suggests that it’s somewhat inevitable.
There’s a concept in biology known as punctuated equilibrium. It posits that systems typically exist in a steady state (equilibrium) in which little change occurs. Occasionally there is a shock to a system from ...