Wednesday, March 28, 2018

High Stakes Testing: This Generation's "Vietnam"

The Era of High Stakes Testing initiated by No Child Left Behind came in with great fanfare, ignoring the infamous connection between testing and Eugenics, and promising a dramatic reduction in disparities in educational achievement based on race and class and an equally dramatic improvement in the US educational status relative to other nations
Now, nearly 20 years later, we are in a position to declare the Testing Movement a dismal failure.. Educational disparities based on race and class are, if anything, even greater than they were in 2001, schools are more segregated and the US educational posture, globally, has remained stagnant.
Worse yet, the percentage of Black teachers in US schools has gone down dramatically, test based school closings have destabilized neighborhoods, teacher morale has plummeted, teacher shortages plague many states, and stress levels among the nation's students have risen to dangerous levels
High Stakes Testing has been the Vietnam of this generation of policy makers, the wrong battle fought against the wrong enemy in the wrong terrain.
It is time to admit defeat, cut our losses, and create child centered, community centered education policies that value teachers and encourage relationship building, mentoring, and the
nurturing of children's talents inside and outside the classroom.
That means no national standards, no test secrecy, no use of tests to rate teachers and schools, an end to school closings and teacher firings, and a sharp reduction in testing budgets at the national, state, local and school level.
These are objectives all people who love children can unite around.
It's time to end the carnage. It's time to heal the pain. It's time to makes schools places which give our children confidence rather than add to their stress.