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Published in Los Angeles Times
07/21/2013

To the editor

Re" California holds out against Obama's education vision



This article focuses on the politics of California's disagreement with President Obama on using test scores to evaluate teachers. It does not mention the damage standardized testing does to students.



Testing promotes memorization rather than understanding; it pressures teachers to hurry their students' learning rather than provide time to explore ideas or investigate questions; it narrows the curriculum to what is being tested, which results in student alienation; it gives children the message that the grade is what is important rather than the learning; it endorses a misconception about the nature of learning by promoting the idea that problems are solved quickly; and it greatly oversimplifies the complexity of education.



Test scores do not explain the complex interrelationships between learning, school size,



student-teacher ratio, the principal, the schedule, teaching practices, the socioeconomic backgrounds of the students, instructional materials used, the communities' attitudes toward learning and the students' cultures and belief systems.



The writer is a professor emeritus of education at UC Santa Barbara.

Julian Weissglass


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