Deborah Meier, the educator and author who has founded extraordinary schools in New York and Boston, points out that the very idea of school has radically different meanings for middle-class kids, who are expected to have opinions, and poor kids, who are expected to do what theyre told. Schools for the well-off are about inquiry and choices; schools for the poor are about drills and compliance. The two types of institutions barely have any connection to each other, she says.
Alfie points out one of testing’s insidious impacts: it shapes the curriculum taught much more in schools where they’re struggling to meet standards, resulting in limiting the curriculum to solely to what’s on the test and cutting out class time for test prep, and those schools tend to be impoverished and minority schools. High stakes testing is a civil rights issue.