Tony Plasencia
4 min readJun 1, 2020


The American school system has been said to been failing by the American public for more than 16 years since the implementation of ‘No Child Left Behind’, in 2001 by President George Bush. The law sets requirements for States wishing to receive NCLB as followed: “set learning standards to reach a set proficiency, high-stakes testing, and breaking down proficiency of students by race, income, and disability.” The Business Roundtable, a coalition of CEO’s of America’s leading companies are responsible for the influx of implication of these Tests. The BRT creates Policy to ‘improve’ American living standards. In education, they work to ‘[provide] rigorous academic standards in K-12 English language arts and mathematics so that all students graduate ready for college and the workforce.’ ( BRT 2018) NCLB and the BRT have made regression prominent in schools, with their lackluster effort of implementing sufficable policy. High Stakes testing and Proficiency Standards have created a widening Achievement gap amongst American students through. explotation of the socioeconomic gap and dissipation of curriculm.

Achievement Gap

The Business Roundtable’s implementation of High Stakes testing across School Districts with NCLB has created a disparity in Education. But how? These test(s) have created a gap between students White and Minority students, by forcing schools to diverge from fulfilling curriculum and steer towards Test Building curriculum. Much like in Texas, where, “teachers taught students how to write 5 paragraph essay with 5 sentences per paragraph that would pass on a test” (Scott ,2004, 21). This situation is not isolated, it happens across the country as pressure mounts from Administrators to meet the standards. Our teachers are forced to teach the test. Interestingly, where High Stakes policy existent, percentage of families with a lower income exists, percentage of parents with College Education was lower, and there was a higher percentage of Black and Hispanic students. Students have been segregated into schools that are “low performing’ cooresponding with their Socio-economic status, these schools, as stated before, teach the test prep while “high performing” schools recieve college prep curriculm. This creates a disparity in the quality of education, seperating what students learn dependant on their socio-economic status is discriminatory and devalues education. As minority students, are taught the test instead of valuable skills, they are systematically being deprived of knowledge. In comparison, to White counterparts, who are taught subjects that are transferable and supplemental to College and life. Not only is the curriculm, creating disparity in the value of Education amongst White and minority students but High stakes testing is as well. In a study conducted in Texas on racial disparities in Testing, this is noted: “Based on 1996 National Assesment of Education Progress (NAEP) scores, the average proficiency for White 13 year olds was about the same levele achieved by 17 year old African Americans, and Hispanics continue to underperform in comparison” (Madeous & Clark 2001). Although, this is before NCLB, this is still during the tenure of the BRT’s influence on Education. Texas is usually referred to as a prime example of the positives of Testing but in this case it proves the opposite. Although, there is no causation for this, the coorelation is difficult to deny- the resegregation of schools and curriculm has undoubtly singled out Minorities in Education. By allowing students to fall back in Educartion, corporate control is ultimately rotting the integrity of Education, they are now forcing students to learn Standards set. This destroys the integrity of individuals, especially destroying caluation for learning.


Since the implementationof NCLB, there has been studies that show the Gap being created by this policy, although it is meant to create ‘success for all’ it has only benefited those who are already in power. The message perpetuated by the BRT, is ‘ with an education anything can be possible’ although this may sounds true, is it? The BRT sets standards that are ‘easy to meet’ but have continuously proven otherwise as students are continuously being segregated. These high stakes testing have only made White students achieve more and has left Minorities in the same position. If education is the engine of Social Mobility, tham their must not be Corporate intervention, as currently being proven , Schools but most importantly Schools will suffer. To not offer duality in Education is to deprive humans of the simple right of Learning.


Horn, C. (2003). High-Stakes Testing and Students: Stopping or Perpetuating a Cycle of Failure? Theory Into Practice, 42(1), 30–41. Retrieved from

Emery, M., & Arnstine, Donald. (2002). The Business Roundtable and Systemic Reform: How Corporate -engineered High -stakes Testing Has Eliminated Community Participation

T.B.R. (2017,December). Business Roundtable.

Emery, K. (2007). Corporate control of public school goals: High-stakes testing in its historical perspective. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(2), 25–44. Retrieved from

Giroux, H.A. & Schmidt, M. Journal of Educational Change (2004) 5: 213.



Tony Plasencia

Recent SFSU grad in Political Science. 4 years of tech experience in Silicon Valley & keen to possibilities of Big Tech and AI in our public Sector