[Susan notes: I'd say that the Obama administration's suggestion of capping classroom time devoted to taking tests is, at best, hypocritical hot air. The dark truth of the matter is that this is a diversionary tactic--keep people talking about testing--instead of the corporate underbelly.]
Published in New York Times
Re White House Moves to Limit School Testing (front page, Oct. 25):
I am glad to see some relief from the test craziness that has overtaken education in the last few years. However, it was a no-brainer that this would occur. Management of schools and curriculums has been taken out of the hands of educators and put into the hands of businesspeople and economists.
It is time to return control to highly skilled education professionals, people who understand child development, who know that the best way for children to learn is through hands-on problem-solving activities as opposed to the "drill and kill" worksheets that are used for standardized test preparation, and who know how to deal with varying learning styles and special needs.
For parents the most important source of information about a child's progress is the teacher, not a score on a test.
The writer is director of the Elysian Charter School.
To the Editor:
Standardized tests have gotten an undeserved bad reputation. When used strictly for diagnostic purposes, they can provide invaluable information to teachers.
Finland, which is known for the quality of its educational system, selects at random about 100 schools each year for standardized testing. The results are never made public, avoiding the naming and shaming that exists in the United States. As a result, teachers welcome the feedback they provide.
This is the antithesis of the situation in the United States, which is obsessed with rankings and punishment. It's little wonder that teachers resent the tests and that testing companies like them.
The writer's Reality Check blog is published in Education Week.
To the Editor:
Sadly, as long as high stakes like teacher evaluations and school closures remain attached to testing, the Obama administration's suggestion of capping classroom time devoted to taking tests will do little to address parents' concerns.
In fact, New York enacted a 2 percent cap last year, and the result clearly showed that a cap was not the answer: Testing refusals more than tripled this year, with a record-setting 20 percent of test takers statewide opting out.
LISA EGGERT LITVIN
To the Editor:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has it right that "we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support." Here's a novel idea: Have the teachers, who work with their students every day and know them best, identify where they need support through their daily work in class.
I have been teaching for 37 years. Teachers don't need to wait for results from standardized tests to know what their kids need to work on to improve.