While California is poised to pass new legislation that would do away with a great deal of high stakes testing in favor of a more minimalist computerized system aligned with the Common Core, all Education Secretary Arne Duncan can do is threaten to cut federal funds. In a gutless display of bureaucratic arrogance, Duncan is saying that by opting out of expensive, abusive and pointless over testing, California may lose federal education funding.
The fact that the new California legislation is supported by teachers unions, educators, politicians on both sides, and the governor seems to mean nothing to test-happy Duncan. What’s really driving Duncan are the wealthy testing corporations that see their strangle-hold on public education and their profits slip every time a state or city fights back against the useless and expensive testing. The scores across the nation were recently reported to be down because the tests simply did not reflect the material being covered because districts have not fully implemented new curriculum.
This wonderful and sneaky self-fulfilling prophecy makes it look like we need more testing to keep those failing teachers in line but the reality is that the test was set up to fail in order to keep the companies in business. At the same time, recent parent polls showed mixed results with many parents questioning the frequency of testing, though most support some. Many parents thought increased funding was the answer but with the feds in bed with the testers, that’s unlikely. My thought would be to cut testing by 75 percent and use the savings to hire back all the laid off teachers. I’ll bet test scores would go up then.
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