What is standardized tests?
The U.S. Congress is — eight years late — taking up the rewriting of No Child Left Behind, and one of the key issues under discussion is just how big the federal footprint on local public schools should be. No Child Left Behind requires that students take an annual standardized test for purposes of holding schools “accountable” from Grades 3-8 and once in high school. Whether such annual testing is now being hotly debated. Here’s a post looking at this issue, by Principal Carol Burris of South Side High School in New York, who was named New York’s 2013 High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2010, tapped as the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Burris has been exposing the botched school reform program in New York for years on this blog. Some of her pieces are listed after the post.
By Carol Burris
“My experience in the education world is that there are really two worlds in it. One is the world of contract and consultants and academics and experts and plenty of officials at the federal state and local level. And the other is a world of principals and classroom teachers who are actually providing education to students. What I’m hearing from my principals’ and teachers’ world is that the footprint of that first world has become way too big in their lives to the point where it’s inhibiting their ability to do the jobs they’re entrusted to do.”
So began Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, at the January 21st Senate education committee hearing to rewrite No Child Left Behind. His thoughts, which were given at the end of the hearing, were the perfect bookend to the remarks of Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican from Tennessee, who chairs the panel and who opened the hearing on a similar theme.
Earlier, Alexander reminded those in attendance that the Department of Education should not be “a national school board.” He said that the overreach of President Obama’s Race to the Top education funding competition is inhibiting the work of states to create challenging standards. Alexander closed with an excerpt from my letter to him, which originally appeared here on the Answer Sheet. That letter talked about the steady decrease of democratic control of our schools, as well as the ineffectiveness of test-based reforms.