Pro & Con Quotes: Do Standardized Tests Improve Education in America?
Kyle Wingfield, President and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, in a Sep. 11, 2020 article, “Opinion: Standardized Testing Necessary to Gauge K-12 Learning even during Pandemic,” available at savannahnow.com, stated:
“[T]here is bipartisan support for these tests. Republicans and Democrats agree we need an objective accounting of whether students are really learning, or simply being shuffled through the system.
Tests are particularly important for poor kids, minority kids, kids with special needs, and others who for decades simply weren’t learning at the rates their white and more affluent peers were. How do we know there’s an achievement gap? Because all kids across a given state have to take the same tests… Students need to learn, and teachers need to know if students are learning. How do we know if that’s happening? By giving tests.”Sep. 11, 2020
Anne Wicks, MBA, the Ann Kimball Johnson Director of the Education Reform Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, in an Oct. 30, 2020 article, “Standardized Tests Are Essential for Equity,” available at realcleareducation.com, stated:
“State standardized exams help parents, educators, and policymakers understand which kids are on track—who is falling behind—so that the adults can act accordingly to better meet students’ needs. This information is more crucial than ever this year given that traditional schooling is now upended…
The current pandemic has blown apart the public education system as we knew it—simultaneously exacerbating vulnerabilities for many children and forcing rapid innovation to meet this instructional moment. The adults in the system must now focus on two things in response: The first is safety for kids and educators. The second is accelerating academic progress for all kids, regardless of race, ethnicity, or disability.
We need to organize the rest of the system to support those outcomes, and high-quality tests are an important tool in that worthy effort.”Oct. 30, 2020
Keri Rodrigues, Co-founder of the National Parents Union, in a Sep. 23, 2020 article, “Education Reformers: You Need to Do More Than Take a Book Report to a Knife Fight,” available at bushcenter.org, stated:
“If I don’t have testing data to make sure my child’s on the right track, I’m not able to intervene and say there is a problem and my child needs more. And the community can’t say this school is doing well, this teacher needs help to improve, or this system needs new leadership.
As a community, we cannot do that based on feeling. We have to have facts, and the only way we have these facts is by testing our children, assessing them, getting them what they need, getting the teachers what they need, and getting the system what it needs to improve. We owe that to our kids…
It’s really important to have a statewide test because of the income disparity that exists in our society. Black and Brown excellence is real, but just because a kid lives in Dorchester does not make his or her life is less valuable than a child that lives in Wellesley. And it is unfair to say that just by luck of birth that a child born in Wellesley is somehow entitled to a higher-quality education…
Testing is a tool for us to hold the system accountable to make sure our kids have what they need.”Sep. 23, 2020
Lane Wright, Director of Policy Analysis at Education Post, wrote in a May 25, 2018 article titled “Does Standardized Testing Help Students,” available at EducationPost.com:
“Standardized tests are a spotlight that helps education leaders see what effect schools are having on students. With that information they can make changes to address students’ needs…
Standardized tests help principals and other school leaders figure out which groups of students are struggling and gives them the evidence they need to push for changes.
Before we had standardized tests, some might have been able to intuitively sense which students were falling behind, but they didn’t have much in the way of hard evidence to back it up. Without evidence, it’s hard to justify the sometimes uncomfortable changes needed to help students.”May 25, 2018
Mark Dynarski, PhD, Founder and President of Pemberton Research, wrote in a Nov. 14, 2018 piece titled “When Done Right, Standardized Tests Really Do Reflect What a Student Knows,” available at the74million.com:
“What exams test reflects what states want their students to learn — the standards. Comparing average scores between schools and districts is possible only because the same test is done. In measuring what students know, tests are a tremendous asset, providing important and reliable information that cannot be learned in other ways…
To parents who are not educators, the process of creating standardized tests might seem like a big black box. In fact, it’s a rigorous and highly scientific process, one that has been developed over 100 years and reflects research by generations of esteemed scholars. It has its own subfield, psychometrics, and every year universities graduate new Ph.D.s in that subfield.”Nov. 14, 2018
Aaron Churchill, MA, MSPPM, Ohio Research Director for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, stated the following in his Mar. 18, 2015 article titled “Bless the Tests: Three Reasons for Standardized Testing,” available at edexcellence.net:
“[W]e should remember why standardized tests are essential. The key reasons, as I see them, are objectivity, comparability, and accountability.
At their core, standardized exams are designed to be objective measures. They assess students based on a similar set of questions, are given under nearly identical testing conditions, and are graded by a machine or blind reviewer. They are intended to provide an accurate, unfiltered measure of what a student knows…
Outside of standardized test results, no objective method exists for policymakers to identify either poor-performing schools needing intervention or high-performing schools deserving rewards. Consider the alternative: Who would want policymakers to intervene in a school based on their ‘gut feeling’ or reward a school based on anecdotes? Statewide standardized exams are essential for upholding a fair and objective accountability system.”Mar. 18, 2015
Latasha Gandy, Executive Director of Students for Education Reform, stated the following in her Jan. 11, 2016 article titled “Don’t Believe the Hype: Standardized Tests Are Good for Children, Families and Schools,” available at educationpost.org:
“Year after year, standardized test results have exposed glaring racial biases in our education system. Teachers and schools are no longer able to hide behind school averages in performance, and are now having to answer for the low academic performance of students of color and low-income students…
Many teachers embrace standardized test data. They use it to celebrate success and pinpoint areas for improvement. My own children attend schools that use testing to set goals and measure progress rather than consider it a punishment. The school regularly shares test data with me, has a clear plan for helping my daughters in areas they’re struggling in, and gives me tips I can use at home.”Jan. 11, 2016
The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board wrote the following in an Aug. 26, 2016 article titled “Editorial: California’s New Standardized Tests Are Flawed, but Still Important,” available at latimes.com:
“The [standardized] tests remain an important part of holding schools accountable and shouldn’t be minimized or dismissed as just a bunch of data. (Are you listening, Gov. Jerry Brown?) The concrete results from the tests force us to see truths we could otherwise avoid — especially now, as other mechanisms of accountability fall by the wayside…
The new tests, based on the Common Core curriculum standards, are designed to measure critical thinking in a nuanced way. They might fall short in some ways. But they do measure skills learned and material understood, if not comprehensively. They can’t be hidden underneath social promotion or grade inflation or meaningless diplomas. In today’s tangle of upbeat school talk and colored charts, annual test scores provide a badly needed measure of objective clarity.”Aug. 26, 2016
Gregory J. Cizek, PhD, Professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education, stated in a Mar. 30, 2010 interview for The Economist titled “Eight Questions for Gregory Cizek”:
“It is difficult to conceive of any meaningful accountability system in which rigorous, objective information about student achievement—that is, standardised test data—would not be a necessary component…
There is simply no assessment in existence today, nor has there ever been any test that simply measures whether students can fill in a bubble. As a starting point, we need to recognise both the limitations of current tests, but also their strengths. The typical statewide NCLB tests administered today in every American state are far and away the most accurate, free-of-bias, dependable, and efficient tests that a student will encounter in his or her schooling. They routinely measure whether students have learned important knowledge and skills, and they provide high-quality, useful information to students, parents, educators, and policymakers about achievement in core subjects.”Mar. 30, 2010
George W. Bush, MBA, 43rd President of the United States, stated during a Jan. 8, 2004 discussion at West View Elementary School in Knoxville, TN, reproduced in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush, 2004, Volume 1, published in 2007:
“You don’t know unless you measure. Listen, I’ve heard every excuse in the book about measurement. You know, ‘You’re testing too much.’ ‘You’re teaching the test.’ And, you know, ‘Don’t test.’ If you don’t test, you have a system that just shuffles the kids through, and that’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to quit on a kid early and just say, ‘Move through, and hope you learn.’ What you’ve got to do is measure to determine where they are, and then you can compare districts and compare States. And as a result of strong accountability measures and good teachers and more funding, the results are positive. The fourth grade math test scores around the Nation are up 9 points since 2000. In other words, we’re beginning to achieve—meet national objectives, which is a more literate group of students. The reading—eighth grade math scores are up 5 points. Fourth graders are now testing above—reading tests are increasing for fourth graders. We’re making a difference.”Jan. 8, 2004
Bill Clinton, JD, 42nd President of the United States, stated in his June 10, 1997 speech on national education standards, transcribed by the White House and available on the US National Archives’ website:
“[Test results] give us a road map to higher performance. In no other country in the world did performance in math drop from above average in 4th grade to below average in 8th grade… We know we’ll have to hold all of our students to higher standards as they grow older and measure the schools and the students against the standards…
This ought to be a clear challenge to every single state that has not yet come forward to agree to participate in the national standards movement and the test in 1999 that they ought to do it. We don’t have to hide anymore, we don’t have to be afraid of the results anymore. We’re not trying to punish anybody; we’re trying to lift the children of this country up.”June 10, 1997
Margaret Spellings, US Secretary of Education from 2005-2009, wrote in her Oct. 14, 2005 op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, titled “Is Standardized Testing the Correct Answer? YES,” archived at Ed.gov:
“Testing has been a valuable part of the educational process since the days of Socrates. There is nothing new or scary about it. It lets teachers and parents know how kids are doing and lets students see the rewards of hard work.
That’s why assessments are part of the No Child Left Behind Act. The law’s emphasis on high standards and accountability has led to a sharp focus on results.
Students are no longer overlooked and shuffled from grade to grade, whether they have learned the material or not. The achievement gap between rich and poor and black and white is no longer treated as a sad fact of life, but rather as a problem to be solved. As President Bush likes to say, what gets measured gets done.”Oct. 14, 2005
James Marshall Crotty, MA, Forbes education blogger, stated in his Feb. 15, 2012 post on Forbes.com titled “Obama’s New Waiver Policy: Some Children Left Behind?”:
“[A]nnual NCLB testing has enabled school administrators to better identify and serve at-risk students, and has given low-income parents a critical tool in determining high-performing public schools…
As for teaching to the test, there is nothing in NCLB that necessitates ‘teaching to the test,’ anymore than there is anything on the SAT, ACT [college admission tests], or PISA [Programme for International Student Assessment] that requires teaching to those tests. My experience working in a South Bronx school, and my own education at a Catholic kindergarten, grade school and high school, suggests that when teachers teach holistically, with a well-rounded emphasis on critical thinking, deep reading, active listening, regular writing, robust physical education, and a full appreciation of all the humanities (including art and music), as well as hard and soft sciences, students perform well on any exam, let alone the yearly NCLB tests…
While even NCLB’s strongest proponents claim that terminating a teacher and principal solely on standardized test scores is unfair, objective national testing should still form the bedrock of any compliance system.”Feb. 15, 2012
Justin Baeder, Education Week blogger, stated in his July 19, 2011 post titled “Why We Still Need Standardized Testing Post-Scandal,” available at EdWeek.org:
“First, we need standardized tests to provide basic information about how our schools are performing relative to each other. In the current environment of testing- and accountability-mania, it’s easy to forget that this is actually very useful information for improvement purposes. The fact that we have used this information for other purposes, centering on punitive accountability measures, has taken our eyes off of this benefit to standardized testing. There are dozens of non-punitive ways to use this information, such as resource allocation, professional development planning, and identifying school goals for improvement.
Second, we need standardized testing to identify inequities and achievement gaps. When we have no solid way to measure learning outcomes, it’s easy for inequities to hide behind our good intentions and best efforts.”
[Editor’s Note: In a June 7, 2012 email to ProCon.org, Justin Baeder confirmed that he remains “Pro” to our core question.]July 19, 2011
Raj Chetty, PhD, John N. Friedman, PhD, and Jonah E. Rockoff, PhD, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research, stated in the executive summary of their Dec. 2011 working paper “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers: Teacher Value-Added and Student Outcomes in Adulthood,” available at Harvard University’s Research Computing Group website:
“One method [of measuring teacher quality] is to evaluate teachers based on their impacts on students’ test scores, commonly termed the ‘value-added’ (VA) approach. A teacher’s value-added is defined as the average test-score gain for his or her students, adjusted for differences across classrooms in student characteristics such as prior scores. School districts from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles have begun to use VA to evaluate teachers. Proponents argue that using VA can improve student achievement… while critics argue that test score gains are poor proxies for a teacher’s true quality…
We find that students assigned to higher VA teachers are more successful in many dimensions. They are more likely to attend college, earn higher salaries, live in better neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers…”Dec. 2011
Peter Greene, Senior Contributor to Forbes and former K-12 educator, in an Apr. 5, 2020 article, “Rethinking Accountability For K-12 Education, Post-Pandemic.,” available at forbes.com, stated:
“Some folks have tried to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic underlines the importance of testing and therefor underlines the importance of our old high stakes testing system. In fact, it does the opposite. COVID-19 testing is a simple binary; do you have the virus or not? But it is absurd to suggest that a single standardized math and reading test can somehow answer a binary question like, “Is this child well-educated or not?” Even ed reform fans have known for a while that the big standardized test does not deliver useful information. The pandemic reminds us that when it comes to testing, you need something that provides a clear answer to a clear question.
It’s time to scrap the big standardized high-stakes tests entirely, and replace them with a system that would provide real accountability… One of the biggest fallacies of the ed reform movement has been the notion that a single multiple-choice math and reading test can somehow measure everything.”Apr. 5, 2020
Conor Sasner, Director of Education and Child Policy Research at First Focus on Children, in an Oct. 23, 2020 article, “The myth of standardized testing becomes an attack on public education during a pandemic,” available at firstfocus.org, stated:
“Standardized tests are not flexible and cannot provide us a true measure of how kids are learning or developing. Even before the crisis, the same teacher might score in the top percentile and bottom percentile in the same year, on the same test, for different classes…
These tests – which are highly biased against non-white students, ineffective at quantifying student engagement, and disconnected from any concept of critical thinking – have leapfrogged curriculum. Instead of demonstrating effective curriculum, post hoc, it informs curriculum from its inception…
We’re asked to accept a dubious claim: a collection of multiple-choice questions are the key to evaluating teachers and schools, or at least enough to make important decisions on which students and schools deserve adequate funding. But the soul of education doesn’t lie in rote testing ability or data retention. To learn is to actively engage with the world; to teach is to encourage the growth of those who seek to change it. Tests don’t tell that story.”Oct. 23, 2020
Steven Singer, 8th grade educator, in a June 26, 2020 article, “Standardized Testing Increases School Segregation,” available at laprogressive.com, stated:
“Surprise! Surprise! – since test scores are highly correlated with race and class, most of the black kids are in the lower classes and most of the white kids are in the higher classes… It’s because of (1) economic inequality, and (2) implicit bias in the tests.
In short, standardized assessments at best show which kids have had all the advantages. Which ones have had all the resources, books in the home, the best nutrition, live in the safest environments, get the most sleep, don’t live with the trauma of racism and prejudice everyday.
However, even more than that is something indisputable but that most policymakers and media talking heads refuse to acknowledge: standardized testing is a tool of white supremacy.
It was invented by eugenicists – people who believed that white folks were racially superior to darker skinned people. And the purpose of these tests from the very beginning was to provide a scientific (now recognized as pseudo scientific) justification for their racism.
A standardized test is an assessment where the questions are selected based on what the ‘standard’ test taker would answer. And since this norm is defined as a white, middle-to-upper-class person, the tests enshrine white bias… They ask test takers to read passages and pick out certain things that are more obvious to people enculturated as white than those enculturated as black. They use the vocabulary of middle to upper class people just to ask the questions.
This is white supremacy. Using these tests as a gatekeeper for funding, tracking, and self-respect is educational apartheid.”June 26, 2020
Margaret Pastor, PhD, Principal of Stedwick Elementary School in Maryland, in a June 19, 2019 article, “Why Standardized Tests Aren’t Working for Teachers or Students,” available at edweek.org, stated:
“[A]n assistant superintendent… pointed out that in one of my four kindergarten classes, the student scores were noticeably lower, while in another, the students were outperforming the other three classes. He recommended that I have the teacher whose class had scored much lower work directly with the teacher who seemed to know how to get higher scores from her students.
Seems reasonable, right? But here was the problem: The “underperforming” kindergarten teacher and the “high-performing” teacher were one and the same person…
We test the children’s learning with admittedly limited instruments—standardized tests—that were never designed to be used as a standalone analysis. A lot of classroom time is dedicated to preparing for these tests and giving them. Results are affected by dozens of variables that we can’t control: illness, hunger, sleep deprivation, unfamiliar forms of a test, limited command of English…
[M]y own experience of watching tests and students for many years is that standardized test results underestimate large numbers of students as learners, especially those who belong to minority groups… Teachers—good teachers, who are with students day after day through all the variables of learning—are far more likely to know not only what a student can do but also how to increase his learning. If we focused on that and worked to build our strength as identifiers and promoters of children’s learning, we could have a real impact.”June 19, 2019
Tom Vander Ark, MBA, CEO of Getting Smart, wrote in an Apr. 14, 2019 article titled “How to Get Rid of Standardized Testing,” available at linkedin.com:
“Good schools know how every student is doing in every subject every day. They don’t need a week of testing in the spring to tell them what they already know…
One problem with state-mandated tests is that they don’t take advantage of everything teachers know about their students…
It’s time to end a century of standardized testing and focus instead on helping young people do work that matters. We no longer need to interrupt learning and test kids to find out what they know. A couple of brave state policy leaders could trigger what would be a quick change because everyone hates the tests.”Apr. 14, 2019
Zach Dawes Jr., MA, Managing Editor for EthicsDaily.com, wrote in a Mar. 11, 2019 article titled “Do Standardized Tests Accurately Measure Student Achievement?,” available at ethicsdaily.com:
“We currently have a system in which teachers and schools are assessed by student performance on tests that many (most?) likely disdain, might not care about how they perform and have little-to-no understanding of the negative consequences for their school or teachers if they don’t perform well…
For students who give their full effort, receiving a lower-than-expected score (particularly when their teachers have assessed them as being at grade level) could dampen spirits and lower motivation on future tests.”Mar. 11, 2019
Diane Ravitch, PhD, Research Professor of Education at New York University and US Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991-1993, stated in her Apr. 11, 2016 article titled “Why Every Child Should Opt out of the Standardized Tests,” available at huffingtonpost.com:
“The tests are meaningless because the results are returned months after the test, when the student has a different teacher. The tests are meaningless because the scores provide no information about what the students learned and didn’t learn. The teacher is not allowed to find out what students got wrong…
Schools have cut back on the arts, civics, science, history, and physical education because they are not on the test…
The testing regime is destroying education. It is driven by politicians who think that tests make students smarter and by educrats who fear to think an independent thought.”Apr. 11, 2016
Greg Jouriles, Social Science Teacher at Hillsdale High School, stated the following in his July 8, 2014 article titled “Here’s Why We Don’t Need Standardized Tests,” available at edweek.org:
“There are two main arguments against using standardized tests to guarantee that students reach at least a basic level of academic competency. The first is radical: These tests are not necessary. The second—less radical and more familiar—is that, even if standardized testing were an efficient benchmark of basic skills, the costs associated with it are too high.”July 8, 2014
Tim Walker, Editor of NEA Today, stated the following in his Feb. 18, 2016 article titled “Survey: 70 Percent of Educators Say State Assessments Not Developmentally Appropriate,” available at neatoday.org:
“Results from a 2015 survey of more than 1500 NEA members teaching the grades and subjects required to be tested under No Child Left Behind (grades 3-8 and 10-12 in ELA and math) indicate that a vast majority of these educators – 70 percent – do not believe their primary state assessment is developmentally appropriate for their students. Only 13 percent agreed that the NCLB-required state standardized test their students took met that standard…
Unfortunately, standardized tests based on a narrowly prescribed curriculum and linked to specific grade levels are not a good way to judge student or teacher success.”Feb. 18, 2016
Dennis Van Roekel, MA, President of the National Education Association (NEA), stated in the Jan. 7, 2011 article “NEA President Shares Thoughts on NCLB with Washington Post,” posted at NEAToday.org:
“Students as young as 6 or 7 years old are now subjected to weeks of preparation for high stakes tests. Because math, reading, and to a lesser extent, science are the only subjects regularly tested, students are drilled in those topics. Meanwhile, subjects such as history, civics, music and art – which help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills–are squeezed out of the school day. When we teach only what will appear on multiple choice tests–and when we ask teachers to read from a prepared script and spend no more and no less time on prescribed subject matter–we cheat our children.
Students’ questions and approaches to learning are as unique as each of them. The current standardized multiple choice tests are a crude instrument for assessing student achievement.”Jan. 7, 2011
Alfie Kohn, MA, Author of The Case Against Standardized Testing and other books, stated in his 2002 article “Standardized Testing: Separating Wheat Children from Chaff Children,” posted on AlfieKohn.org:
“You deprive kids of recess, eliminate music and the arts, cut back the class meetings and discussions of current events, offer less time to read books for pleasure, squeeze out the field trips and interdisciplinary projects and high-quality electives, spend enough time teaching test-taking tricks, and, you bet, it’s possible to raise [test] scores. But that result is meaningless at best. When a school or district reports better test results this year than last, knowledgeable parents and other observers respond by saying, ‘So what?’ (because higher test scores do not necessarily reflect higher quality teaching and learning) – or even, ‘Uh oh’ (because higher test scores may indicate lower quality teaching and learning).
And once you realize that the tests are unreliable indicators of quality, then what possible reason would there be to subject kids – usually African American and Latino kids – to those mind-numbing, spirit-killing, regimented instructional programs that were designed principally to raise test scores? If your only argument in favor of such a program is that it improves results on deeply flawed tests, you haven’t offered any real argument at all.”
[Editor’s Note: In a June 8, 2012 email to ProCon.org, Alfie Kohn confirmed that he remains “Con” to our core question.]2002
Jonathan Kozol, education writer and activist, wrote in his Sep. 10, 2007 Huffington Post article “Why I Am Fasting: An Explanation to My Friends”:
“The poisonous essence of this law [NCLB] lies in the mania of obsessive testing it has forced upon our nation’s schools and, in the case of underfunded, overcrowded inner-city schools, the miserable drill-and-kill curriculum of robotic ‘teaching to the test’ it has imposed on teachers, the best of whom are fleeing from these schools because they know that this debased curriculum would never have been tolerated in the good suburban schools that they, themselves, attended.
…There are some mediocre teachers in our schools (there are mediocre lawyers, mediocre senators, and mediocre presidents as well), but hopelessly dull and unimaginative teachers do not suddenly turn into classroom wizards under a regimen that transforms their classrooms into test-prep factories.”Sep. 10, 2007
Carolyn J. Heinrich, PhD, the Sid Richardson Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, stated in her Mar. 10, 2012 op-ed for the Austin American-Statesman titled “Standardized Tests with High Stakes Are Bad for Learning, Studies Show”:
“There are little to no positive effects of these [test-based accountability] systems overall on student learning and educational progress, and there is widespread teaching to the test and gaming of the systems that reflects a wasteful use of resources and leads to inaccurate or inflated measures of performance…
Studies published in the best economics and education journals have shown unequivocal evidence of excessive teaching to the test and drilling that produces inflated measures of students’ growth in learning; cheating on tests that includes erasing incorrect answers or filling in missing responses; shifting of students out of classrooms or other efforts to exclude anticipated poor performers from testing, or alternatively, concentrating classroom teaching efforts on those students most likely to increase their test scores above a particular target, and other even more subtle strategies for increasing testing averages…”Mar. 10, 2012
Christopher Paslay, author of the 2011 book The Village Proposal: Education as a Shared Responsibility, wrote in his Feb. 21, 2012 article “The Mighty Testing Juggernaut,” posted on the Philadelphia Inquirer / Philadelphia Daily News website:
“Standardized tests may be lucrative for educational publishers and useful for politicians who want to control school resources, but they seldom improve learning. No Child Left Behind has promoted empty lessons geared toward such tests. As a result, teacher spontaneity is compromised, leaving students uninspired.”Feb. 21, 2012
Hillary Rodham Clinton, JD, US Secretary of State, stated while US Senator (D-NY) during her address to the National Education Association (NEA) June-July 2007 Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, available at YouTube.com:
“You all know what’s happening with No Child Left Behind; the test is becoming the curriculum, when it should be the other way around. And the curriculum is being narrowed. I hear story after story about music, and art, or physical education, or field trips being cut out of the school day to make more time for drilling and routine work to prepare for the test. I don’t know about you but I remember those field trips. I learned a lot on things that took me out of the classroom with my teacher’s guidance and gave me a view of a wider world. How much learning is exactly going on? Our children are getting good at filling in those little bubbles, but how much creativity is being left behind? How much passion for learning is being left behind? And what about those children who we know are bright and successful in the classroom but simply don’t perform well on tests? And we know these children; I know these children. They have tremendous talents, maybe musical or artistic talents. They’re made to feel like failures because the curriculum doesn’t reward what it is they are good at.”June-July 2007
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