Tagged: standardized testing

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I’m not pro-testing. But this is silly.

favicon Protests against standardized testing are heating up this year as we head into assessment season. Some parents are opting their children out of the mandatory tests, and educational leaders like Diane Ravitch are calling for more boycotts.

I don’t mind the protesters. They have a good point — that maybe there’s too much testing, that it reduces the humanity of their children to a zombie-like state. It’s an important debate. Even though the new Common Core State Standards will likely reduce the overall amount of testing, I can see why parents and their children might feel frustration.

But pictures like this make me crazy.

Antitesting Pic

Here are a few reasons this protest is silly:

  • Sign made by the parent, not by the child.
  • No, one test cannot ruin your life.
  • Doesn’t help that the child is smiling.

It just doesn’t make sense to argue that your 9-year-old boy is a robot of standardized testing and then force him to a protest with a sign that you made yourself.

Of course it’s normal that things get heated when people become impassioned. Unfortunately, the education debate is now strongly either-or. Either you are for public school or you’re for corporate privatization. Either you’re for creativity and humanity or you’re for standardized testing. Either poverty is the reason for everything bad in education, or teachers are.

Some say that a real conversation wouldn’t get us anywhere. A false compromise is what the corporate reformers want. A revolution is necessary.

That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with revolution, but please, while you’re at it, have your students reading a book of their choice instead of standing behind a sign they didn’t make. favicon

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Florida lowers standards, blames teachers

 Florida got its state test results back and decided yesterday to lower its standards for writing.

Check out this news clip from an Orlando local news station.

In our current climate, this story is not new. It goes like this:

  1. Public officials bemoan the quality of public schools and demand that schools raise standards.
  2. Teachers make adjustments to their curriculum, often teaching directly to the tests.
  3. Students take the tests and sometimes don’t perform well.
  4. Public officials lower the standards, let the students pass, and then blame the teachers for doing a bad job.
  5. Repeat from Step 1.

One of the strongest arguments being made right now in educational reform is that non-educators should be leading the way. After all, the argument goes, if something is broken, we shouldn’t rely on the people who broke it to fix it.

While I understand that theory, it also doesn’t make sense for non-teachers to make large pronouncements about education and then blame teachers for failure.

I do not have a problem with someone telling me that I need to do better. I already know that. But it’s not OK to talk big and serious about standards and then backpedal when the results come back lower than what you want. And please, let’s stop blaming teachers. It’s just not effective.