"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Parents AND Bloggers Challenge Standardized Testing

A reader alerted me to a group of parents concerned about the standardized testing their children are allegedly mandated to take by their individual states. This is what she reported from Florida and Texas:

Here in Florida, there are consequences for not taking the test. The student does not go to the next grade level or is given an plan as if a disabled student. Keep a child home because of the testing is an unexcused absence, which also has consequences. In Texas, parents report that unexcused absences come with a court date for contributing to the truancy of a minor, $500 a day penalty, and a truant officer.

She invited me to join the Facebook group, "Parents Against Standardized Testing". There are many articles from around the country about parents concerned about these mandates (which may not actually be legal mandates in some states) and if you are concerned about this issue, access this site. Check out the discussion board on the site as well.

Althouse posted "Bloggers Challenge President on Standardized Testing":

Mr. Obama criticized “high-stakes” tests last week at a town-hall-style meeting, contrasting them with less-pressured tests his daughters took in their Washington private school....
Anthony Cody, a teacher in Oakland, Calif., who writes a blog for Education Week, suggested that the president was disavowing the policies of his education secretary, Arne Duncan, which include expanding student testing to evaluate teachers and developing new tests to be given several times a year to measure student progress.

Cody writes:

...The Obama campaign relied on the energy of millions of us, activated by a call to our hopes and dreams. We were exhausted by eight years of Bush, seven years of No Child Left Behind, and Obama promised a fresh start. We have not seen that fresh start in education. Instead we are seeing a deep entrenchment on the part of the Department of Education, finding ever more creative ways to pretend that making the tests more frequent will somehow make them benign. Those of us who are experiencing the effects of these policies are not deceived. We see how they are destroying schools, and stealing opportunities from children....
Last week, President Obama reminded us all why his election gave many of us so much hope. In 338 words he spoke of how he wanted his daughters, Sasha and Malia, to have their learning tested. He described a low-stakes, low pressure environment, with the results used not to punish them, their teachers or their school, but simply to find out what their strengths are, and where they might need extra support. He spoke of the need to avoid teaching to the test, and the value of engaging projects that would make students excited about learning. President Obama has made sure his daughters can learn this way. If only Department of Education policies would allow students in our public schools this same privilege!

Be sure to read the goldmine quotes from the readers. Apparently taxpayers ARE paying attention and are tired of the billions of dollars wasted on programs that don't work and don't educate children. As one reader wrote:

The Dept. of Education does what again?

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