This is why I really wish Steve Newton lived in my district. I would vote for him, and go to each home in my district and convince them why Steve is the right choice to represent families and students in Legislative Hall. It isn’t about Republican or Democrat anymore. Those lines blurred a long time ago in Delaware when it comes to education. It warped into legislators not doing the right thing for kids in return for political favors. There are some who are not afraid to speak out about the education reform and all the fraud that has come with it. Steve will, in my most fervent hope, join them in crusading against the shame our Delaware education has become.
Steve Newton’s response:
The WNJ editorial board COMPLETELY misses the point on testing:
“Just what is it that we Americans don’t like about school testing? Is it too tough on our children? Is it too tough on the education establishment, especially teachers? Or is it a plot to totally federalize our school system, report cards and all?
“The answer probably is: All of the above.”
Actually, folks, the answer is far more fundamental: high-stakes testing transforms our schools from public education to workforce training establishments. What we lose in the myopic insistence on standardized testing is the impetus to value every child, to let every child grow and find new ways, to give a hand up to every child who has ever overcome obstacles just to show up in our classrooms with or without her homework.
No test can capture that moment when, in an English class, an abused child first sees himself and his life in a Shakespearian play.
No test can assess the impact on the child who has always struggled with reading as he becomes the first trumpet in the middle school marching band, and realizes that there are modes of self-expression at which he can excel.
No test can assess the impact of a teacher who does the best she can every single day with the little girl who never has her homework and never wants to talk, because that teacher knows there is one overworked parent too busy trying to pay the rent to keep “involved” parent hours for homework.
I could do this all day.
It’s not that the tests are too hard. It’s not that they’re somehow too tough on teachers. It’s not even that they lead to a Federal takeover.
High-stakes testing is systematically destroying the very strength of the American educational system–and there are strengths within that system, for all it faults and creaks and groans.
I know whereof I speak, because I have designed content standards, I have written and graded test items, I have been on the other side, and I understand that the high-stakes testing people are 110% sincere, just like anybody else trapped within the confines of a cult.
They BELIEVE that “assessment drives instruction” is the 11th Commandment. They BELIEVE that if we don’t impose the factory-like schools of Shanghai on our students that the entire American system will collapse. They BELIEVE that testing, rigorously applied, can wipe out the inequalities of poverty, and sand down the edges of all those square-peg children that corporate America wants to jam into those round holes. They are religious fanatics.
Assessment is critical to teaching, just like medicine is critical to health care. Yet if a doctor suddenly develops the belief that every patient, regardless of his or her malady, requires massive doses of antibiotics, then something is wrong.
Public education in America is NOT a business and children (along with their test outcomes) are NOT a product.
I’ll say this one last time for the two people still reading this screed: the Americans who are resisting high-stakes testing are NOT afraid of them, they simply understand what the education bureaucrats and corporate reformers don’t: they will destroy, not fix, our educational system.