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Published on Thursday, September 06, 2012

Parents push back against test mania

Enough testingIt’s the first week of school for most of us, bringing the familiar rush of excitement.  Reconnecting with colleagues.  Meeting new students.  Trying out new lesson plans.  Prepping for standardized tests.

Oh wait, you’re not excited about test prep season, which now seems to last all year?  You aren’t alone.  There is a growing consensus among parents that the mania for testing, which  started with No Child Left Behind and is only growing, has made schools worse, not better. 

Parents get it.  They hate seeing the curriculum narrowed and their children’s opportunities limited in the name of practicing how to ace multiple choice tests.

And that’s a good thing, because parents are going to be important advocates in the fight against the growing “testification” of public education.  As educators, we can speak out against the testing craze, but as long as our livelihood relies at least partly on students’ test scores, we have little choice but to play the game as the rules are currently written.

Parents don’t have those limitations.  And some of them are starting to act on their convictions.  It’s a hopeful sign that they are willing to stand up to the harmful ideas that are hurting our schools.

We need to keep spreading the word that overreliance on standardized tests harms real education.  It’s good to know that we have some allies in this fight who have a real stake in how it turns out.


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