Tests... the mere word conjures memories of long-ago school days, my number two lead pencil cracking under the pressure of my intensity. Fortunately for us, when it comes to testing for hormone levels, no pencil is needed, and you really can't fail!
The controversy over standardized testing was given new focus by the recent Chicago teachers strike. One of their major objections was to having the Chicago Board of Education use these tests heavily to determine teacher competence.
Political advertising is a medium long associated with dishonesty and cheap shots--not the most persuasive stuff. But today's ad wars are wasting ad dollars. The skyrocketing sums would be better spent on talking policy without mentioning any party or any hot-button political words.
Are you ready to move on to the next course in school? To advance to the next level of piano, karate, dance or swimming lessons? To succeed in college? To begin your career? To earn a professional license or certification? To pass the bar exam?
While the Common Core assessments might well tell us what our kids know, they will likely tell us little or nothing about their ability to use what they know to create things of real quality and value.
Texas school districts are protesting high-stakes testing. Florida's Governor thinks perhaps the state's students are tested "too much." A national resolution is circulating to protest high-stakes testing. I hope we are beginning to turn a corner.
Black people bear the brunt of this epidemic. We are 13% of the population, but about half of the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, nearly half of new HIV cases, and half of annual AIDS-related deaths in this country are Black.
Given what we know about the structure of our society, the demands of the knowledge economy, and the need to pass tests in order to advance in many of the nation's best careers, how can we entertain the idea that testing should be drastically scaled back?
Let's base 100 percent of teacher pay on the results of standardized tests. But if we are to have true educational reform, a concept that seems to be lost when used by those who claim that mantle, I want the following conditions:
For many public school students and perhaps for teachers as well, April is the cruelest month of the school calendar. April days that are not devoted to 'test prep' are spent on testing itself. And some of what is going on in this crazy month defies the imagination.
"My son can't sleep at night." Why? "Because his teacher told him that he had to do well on the tests this week or she would be fired.." Scaring the sleep out of a child is surely an example of distortion and corruption. So too is firing people based on the snapshot of one day's bubble test score.
Let's get back to the core purpose of public education -- ensuring students have access to a great education that prepares them for lifelong learning and success -- and leave the pressure cooker for pot roasts.