Publication Date: 2002-09-23
Parents Across Virginia United to Reform SOLS (PAVURSOL) issues a modest proposal to politicians who passed No Child Left Behind legislation: Take a test--any test.
Thank heaven that you folks in the federal government are watching out for our kids. The "No Child Left Behind" legislation is going to be the ultimate solution to the supposed mediocrity of our public schools. The federal government is riding to the rescue of our children. All our children will pass all mandated tests. All means all. Or else.
These tests, as you legislators like to tell us, are the result of years of poor education results from our public schools. There are tons of anecdotes out there, as well as selective use of data (like the Nation at Risk report) to prove that public schools are failing.
Such things are often said about you legislators and policy makers, as well. The media, political pundits, and talk radio hosts and their listeners often talk of the "idiots in Washington" or the state houses, poking fun at you guys and scoff at your solutions to our country's issues.
Well, since you have been so kind and forward-thinking by coming to the rescue our children with high stakes tests, we want to return the favor. We want to help improve the situation in Washington and in our state houses, which, in turn, will help improve your images and reputations. Parents to the rescue of the politicians and policy-makers. You know, you scratch my back; I'll scratch yours.
Here's the answer to your problems. You legislators and policy-makers in Washington and in our state houses who are imposing this legislation on our children never got the benefit of this one-size-fits-all curriculum and over-emphasis on standardized test scores. You folks didn't have the opportunity to prove that you had the content knowledge to be successful adults by bubbling in the "best" answers from a list of four. You didn't have to sweat the difference between passing and failing by one point on tests that are secret (in some states until several months after given and scored, in some, forever). You didn't have the benefit of multiple choice and writing-by-formula test prep, practice tests, and centralized governmental approval of your curriculum.
And that's a problem. I'm worried about you folks.
But I have a solution. It's easy, really. And it'll just add a bit to the hundreds of millions of dollars already being spent on test questions. I propose that you - our legislators and policy makers - take the tests being imposed on our children and schools. That's right. Take the tests and report your scores. That way, we can know that you are doing all right and can be counted on to be the successful adults that your own schools should have turned out, that passing these tests will ensure you really are.
I don't care which state test you use. Virginia, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, California, Michigan?.There are a bunch to choose from. I'm sure that each one of them measures the important things that you should know and be able to do, since our states regularly tell us so and how it is, therefore, so important to do well on the tests. And since they also tell us the tests are "diagnostic," I'm sure the results of such tests will help us identify and address any of your weaknesses.
And hey, all you test prep companies out there - heads up! I'm sure there will be some Congressmen, Senators, and policy makers who will want to buy some test prep materials to practice for the big test day. So see, there's even lots of extra money to be made in my solution. And that will be good for the economy.
I'm sure you'll take your medicine with a good attitude. After all, we're just trying to give you the help we know you need. Like you're trying to help our kids.