Allowing politics into the classroom

Research clearly shows that using student test scores as a primary measure of an individual teacher’s effectiveness leads to woefully inac­curate evaluations. Parents and educators alike have seen the damage that overemphasis on standardized testing has done to real teach­ing and learning over the past decade. Gov. Christie’s proposed changes to teacher evalu­ation base up to 50 percent of the final rating on measures of student performance. It is clear that he intends for standardized tests to make up much or all of that measure.

The Christie scheme would necessitate an explosion of testing. Every teacher’s evalua­tion would determine both pay and continued employment, and standardized tests would be the largest single factor in that evalua­tion. Beyond the additional emphasis that teachers would be forced to place on test preparation, schools would have to test far more frequently. Tests would have to be administered at every grade level, and in every subject, multiple times every year. It would be No Child Left Behind on steroids, and it would be educationally disastrous.

Educators in the Lead