Teacher says were going to be taking a bunch of tests next month. She says theyre really important.
Thats right. You know it takes money to run a school, dont you?
Sure. They have to pay the teachers, and buy books, and fix the leaky roof, and stuff.
Well, some of the money comes from a government grant, paid for by the taxpayers. And the amount your school gets depends on how well you kids do on these tests.
You mean the money isnt divided equally? Some schools get a bigger share and some get less?
But some schools already have more money. The schools the rich suburban kids go to? Theyre palaces compared to this place. The kids there have fancy football stadiums and language labs and TV studios. They get to learn a lot. And then there are other schools that have less money. The school my cousin goes to cant even afford to fix the broken windows, let alone the roof. They dont have enough teachers to keep the kids from acting up in class. My cousin doesnt learn much there.
Yes, unfortunately, there is a great deal of disparity in our public school system.
And these tests will be used to decide where the money goes?
Correct. We need hard empirical data on the performance of students at a given school, in order to determine what proportion of the grant that school deserves to receive.
So when we take these tests, I guess all of us kids should pretend to be stupid.
What?! No, of course not! You must do as well as possible.
Dont we need to do as poorly as possible? If we miss a lot of the questions, the government will think our school is doing a bad job of teaching us.
They certainly will!
And that means our school deserves the money more. We need the money to improve, so we can do a better job.
No, no, youve got it backwards. The fact that you need help is proof that you dont deserve help.
The better schools, where the students do well those are the ones whove proved they deserve the money more.
But they already have more money.
In many cases.
And the poor inner-city schools have less.
And if those inner-city schools fail to educate their students, they should be penalized by getting even less money. Why should we reward them for failure?
It shouldnt be about punishment and reward. It should be about where the money will do the most good.
No, it is a matter of punishment and reward. Thats how the free market system works in America. Its like capitalism. Money goes to people who earn it, not people who need it.
Youre a Christian, arent you? Jesus tells us, The person who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough. But the person who has nothing will have taken away from him even the little he has.
Pay no attention. Just shut up and study for those tests.