Testing, not kids, is what’s failing across America. We’ve known this for over two decades, and the time for students, teachers, parents, and schools to take back and rebuild our decimated education system is long overdue.
This is no longer a polite request. This is not a humble suggestion. It is at this point a ferocious command on behalf of teachers, parents, students, educators, and schools. 2014 has come and gone, and as far as “No Child Left Behind” is concerned, let’s just say that some “childs” have been left behind.
Bush is not alone to blame. The Obama administration’s policies not only reinforced, but exacerbated the mandates of NCLB, and the administration’s failure in 2014—the projected success year of “100%-proficiency” objectives—to review, address, and repair the damage that has now become standard practice in American schooling is inexcusable.
Trump and Biden, Republican and Democrat, and federal, state, and local authorities have equally done nothing. And after all the time, talk, and money, here is what we know: High-stakes testing doesn’t work.
The entire teaching profession has been hijacked by politicians, lobbyists, and bankrolling assessment corporations [who] commodify our very children.
It is factually, empirically, and observably true that high-stakes testing practices interfere with student learning. They impede teaching and planning and undermine teacher professionalism. They cripple the educational network, pinning states, superintendents, administrators, and teachers against one another in perpetual scapegoating.
I’ll not reiterate for the nth time the mountain of facts and figures that verify these realities, partly because we’ve heard it all before, and partly because facts and figures have yet to inspire productive common-sense action on behalf of our children.
Instead, the entire teaching profession has been hijacked by politicians, lobbyists, and bankrolling assessment corporations who have managed, before the eyes of an entire nation, to commodify our very children.
Education belongs to teachers, parents, and local communities, not lobbied politicians and for-profit corporations.
This week, I sat and watched my beloved students raked through the medieval rack of the mental, physical, and spiritual torture that is the SAT. It is heartbreaking, cruel, and inhumane. I’m tired of the death of kindergarten, the weeping of anxiety-ridden third-graders, the sight of soul-dead eighth-graders physically awry in their seats, and the language-famished, embittered high-school juniors whose souls have been robbed of the joy of learning and who’ve developed a PTSD-like revulsion toward print material.
This has to stop, and there’s a better way. It’s something we’ve yet to try in this country, but I think it just might work: Let’s listen to the educators.
What drives the greatest models of education in the world—from Finland to Singapore—and remains consistent with educational research and practice, and continues to be the only option that the U.S. has yet to implement, is returning the teaching profession to the teachers. Education belongs to teachers, parents, and local communities, not lobbied politicians and for-profit corporations.
Action is a choice. Standing for what’s right is a duty. Return the educational profession to the educators. We know what we’re talking about, and we could teach you a thing or two about it.