Resistance at Renaissance: A Discussion About Education Policies With Teachers at Renaissance Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey.
Maskin, Michael G.
- In the last two decades, the US federal government has passed two major education initiatives,No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top/Common Core, designed to eliminate, or at least,narrow the achievement gap and help all students become proficient in core subjects.Policymakers, and not teachers, played the largest part in designing these initiatives. The policieshave brought a major increase in ... read morenational education standards, high-stakes standardized tests,and outcries from many parents and educators across the country. Renaissance, a public middleschool in Montclair, New Jersey, that was founded just before No Child Left Behind was passed,offers a unique perspective on the ways the different policies have affected public schools, and isa school whose founders were dead set against any standardization of education. Throughinterviews with teachers and administrators at the school, as well as an analysis of a communitythat is deeply involved in its public school system, I will demonstrate the power and importanceof community engagement in public schooling, and will offer suggestions for improving currentstandards and policies. This thesis aims to elevate the voice of teachers whose opinions havebeen largely ignored in recent debates around policies, and to offer a critique of high-stakestesting as the most effective method of student assessment.read less