The bravery of the parents of Ruby Bridges and Sylvia Mendez and others are the reason the community was able to stand before Houston ISD trustees earlier this week and remind them that "separate is never equal” and demand they not take a step backward in the history of school equality.
The testing-based school accountability movement got its start just after schools were forced by the courts to integrate, and that wasn’t an accident. The country somehow did just fine without “school accountability” when white kids went to school with only white kids.
For decades, there has been a need to continually justify less investment in all public schools while bolstering the investment in just some schools—specialty schools, suburban schools, private schools. That justification needed a plausible basis other than race, and standardized testing—with its appearance of science and fact while behind the scenes only being correlated with race and class, not teaching—is just what that movement needed to get the job done.
So, now that the cases are laid out and the battle lines are drawn, who will fight against the movement that is hell-bent on destroying the right to a quality education for everyone?