BC students to feel a burn in their wallets: WA State students to suffer from education reforms

Cole Estes/The Jibsheet
Cole Estes/The Jibsheet

The United States educational system will soon be getting a face lift by state governments.

To most students, it’s probably not “new” news that Washington State’s four year institutions and community colleges alike will be raising tuition come fall quarter 2011.

This hike in tuition is the aftermath of Olympia’s decision to cut $482 million in funding for higher education. To make up for the money lost The Olympian reports “the budget includes provisions for 13% tuition increases at the University of Washington, Washington State University, and Western Washington University.” As well as an 11% increase for technical and community colleges throughout the state.

Therefore BC students should expect to feel a burn in their wallets come fall quarter. Schools like the University of Washington are also going to be denying very capable instate students’ admission to the UW, preferring to take the less capable out of state student who will be paying more.

However, education reform does not stop there. Along with higher tuition for students, there has been a rise in the number of standardized testing being given, and “re-evaluating” how districts evaluate the performance of teachers.

In locations such as North Carolina the evaluation for teachers will no longer be based on tenure but on standardized tests.
The Washington Post reported “the explosion in testing in that district, and soon in others, is a result of a move to an assessment system in which teachers are evaluated largely on the basis of how well their students do on such tests.” This new measure is referred to as a “value-added system”, its intended to measure how much “‘value’ a teacher adds to a student’s growth.”

Even though The Washington Post has reported that research and assessment experts have shown that basing a teacher’s performance on standardized tests is unreliable and a very bad idea, states have nevertheless chosen to pass laws in favor of the new system.

It seems that with such “face lifts” given to our educational system, students and teachers alike will want a refund. Most of the educational reform measures proposed by states like North Carolina are also being endorsed by the White House.

These reform decisions are leaving most students wondering exactly what their future will look like with incredibly high tuition, more standardized testing that will barely reflect their abilities, and mediocre teachers because good teachers are being let go based upon a faulty evaluation system. The future looks dim.