The Descartes Variation
The folks that lead the organizations that up to now have been known as "professional organizations" have come up with a 21st Century variation on Descartes, insisting, "I'm tested, therefore I am."
by Stephen Krashen
Educators have complained that the standards and tests for reading
and math narrow the focus of instruction to just these subjects. Diane
Ravitch told us recently that the feds' reaction to this complaint is
simple: Test everything.
The professional organizations seem to think this is a great idea.
Twenty-one educational organizations are asking for "standards,
assessments, accountability systems, and public reporting of
achievement" not just for reading and math but also for science,
foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history,
geography, health and physical education." (You can see the list of
In other words, they are saying, "test us too."
Apparently, these groups approve of spending billions to develop
national standards, tests linked to the standards, and new textbooks,
and are eager to add even more testing to the unbelievable load that
is currently planned.
There is no evidence that more rigorous standards and increased
testing lead to better achievement; in fact, there is tremendous
evidence that it has the opposite effect, converting instruction into
test-prep rather than real learning.
These proposals also ignore the most serious problem in American
education, under-funded schools in high-poverty areas that do not have
the means to provide children with what they need to succeed.
NOTE: Here is the list of organizations: You will see that NCTE, IRA, and NCTM aren't on it because kids are already tested to death in their fields. The folks below want to get in on the testing action.
* American Association for State and Local History
* American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
* American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
* American Historical Association
* American School Health Association
* Association for Documentary Editing
* Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools
* Constitutional Rights Foundation
* Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago
* Developmental Studies Center
* Educational Theatre Association (EdTA)
* Facing History and Ourselves
* Generation Citizen
* Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
* History Channel
* Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS)
* National Art Education Association (NAEA)
* National Association for Music Education (MENC)
* National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)
* National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
* National Coalition for History
* National Council for the Social Studies
* National Council on Public History
* National Dance Education Organization (NDEO)
* Organization of American Historians
* School Social Work Association of America
* Southern Historical Association
* State Education Agency Service Learning Network (SEA-Net)
* Street Law