The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

School Tests:
Reflection of Class Society

Oct 12, 2015

The new “Common Core” test results are out in California, and they show the same thing that the old standardized tests showed, year after year: students who go to school in affluent neighborhoods do better than students who go to school in working-class neighborhoods.

In fact, the new tests strengthened this trend: the gap between the high-income and low-income schools was even bigger with these new tests.

That’s not surprising. Since the new style tests were being given for the first time, test scores depended less on students being specifically “taught to the test.” Instead, students had to rely more on knowledge and skills acquired over their entire education. And there, social class is the decisive factor. Middle and upper-middle-class children, whose parents have more education, already begin first grade with a much larger vocabulary, and general knowledge, than do working-class children. Instead of trying to use schools to overcome the gap, this country increases it. The more privileged children continue to get a better education, having access to more books, more culture, more technology, etc., at school–all paid for by public school systems that favor the children of the wealthy.

Federal, state and local funding of education is organized in such a way that schools in working-class neighborhoods are starved for the funding and resources they need to provide a decent education to all of their students. It’s common within a state to see schools in wealthy areas spending two or even three times as much on the education of those children as what is spent on the children of the poor.

This society run by the capitalist class is not willing to provide a decent education to the children of the working class.

If these new, supposedly improved, tests did anything, they showed this fundamental problem of education in capitalist society even more starkly than before.