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[Susan notes: Ross Izard is a policy analyst at the Independence Institute, a Colorado "think tank was the first in the state to promote ideas such as educational vouchers, charter schools, educator accountability, and public school report cards."



In 2001, as an inner city middle school teacher, Don Perl was the first teacher in the nation to commit an act of civil disobedience by refusing to administer the state test.]

Published in Greeley Tribune
02/04/2015

To the editor

Mr. Ross Izard, education policy analyst begins his column in the January 29th edition of the Tribune by stating that the single word defining conversations in education is "testing." He prescribes a vague formula for maintaining the federal minimum testing requirements in reading, math and science in grades 3-12. Mr. Izard also defends the regimen of testing despite its being, "imperfect and Kafkaesque."



However, where were the important questions? For example: Who profits from this glut of testing? Who designs the questions? Who grades these tests? How far does testing take us from a meaningful learning environment where children appreciate each other and their cultural diversity? Isn't a tenet of education to develop thoughtful and emotionally intelligent citizens able to care for each other? What has a generation of testing and data collection told us?



Indeed, testing tells us a great deal about the role poverty plays in education. Schools reflect society's ills and the glut of testing has exacerbated those ills. We see our schools now more marginalized than at any time since the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision declared that segregated schools were by definition unequal.



Teachers know what an art and calling their profession is. They know the importance of understanding the ethnic and socio-economic background of their students. And they know the depth of the insult of policies that attempt to tie evaluations to results on tests as education policy analyst Izard defends.



The generation of high stakes standardized testing is far worse than "imperfect and Kafkaesque." The regimen has brought out the worst in us, has made us more competitive, less cooperative and blind to those among us whose talents are other than academic. Let us then continue to raise our voices for more humane educational policies.







The writer is a professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Northern Colorado

Don Perl


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