Monday, October 10, 2011

Testing Children

Once again, I am feeling frustrated in the age of "blaming teachers" for everything from students underachieving(regardless of the circumstances)to making too much money that has ruined the state budget.

I would like to share some excerpts from an article by Diane Ravitch, a former US assistant secretary of education, a historian of education and a professor at New York University. the article addresses the failure of No Child Left Behind, the ten years of testing students grades 3-12.

Maybe standardized tests are not good predictors of future economic success or decline. Perhaps our country has succeeded not because of test scores but because we encouraged something more important than test scores - the freedom to create, innovate and imagine.

Instead of sending the vast amounts of money that schools needed to make a dent in this goal, Congress simply sent testing mandates that required that every child in every school reach proficiency by 2014 - or the schools would be subject to sanctions. If a school failed to make progress over five years, it might be closed, privatized ,handed over to the state authorities or turned into a charter school.

The fundamental belief that carrots and sticks will improve education is a leap of faith, an ideology to which its adherents cling despite evidence to the contrary.. . experts who concluded that incentives based on tests hadn't worked.

. . . testing every child every year and grading teachers by their student's scores - is not found in any of the world's top performing nations.

Piece by piece our entire public education system is being redesigned in the service of increasing test scores on standardized tests at the expense of creativity, innovation and imagination that helped this country succeed.. . competition produces winners and losers, not equality of educational opportunity

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