Parents across the nation are taking a stand against the use of tests to measure, rate, and rank their children.
Local school boards are passing resolutions against high-stakes testing.
People are increasingly angry that tests are being used inappropriately in ways for which they were not designed.
They are forming groups to protest.
One of the best organized groups functions in New York state.
It is called Change the Stakes.
It adopted a statement in opposition to high-stakes testing drafted by testing expert Fred Smith.
In addition to their concerns about narrowing the curriculum and demoralizing students, parents and educators want to know more about the testing. They want to know, for example:
“How many professionally designed and developed tests are being given in New York schools? What is
the purpose of each? When are they scheduled to be given? How much time is spent administering
each test? How many students and schools are involved? And how much money does each test cost
(the material, the scoring and the reports)?
Which publisher constructed or supplied each exam? Who owns the exams we are paying for? Which
ones are field tests—tests and questions that do not count but enable commercial publishers to develop
and sell exams for future use? Which exams are used to screen children for entry into special programs
or selective schools? Which must be passed as a basis for promotion or to fulfill graduation
requirements? Surely, the city and state know and can give us these details for the current year.”
The state and city education officials act as though they own the children and can do whatever they want without supplying even the most basic information to parents.
This is wrong. This is contrary to democratic control of public education. The people in charge don’t know more. They just have more power. And they are using it in ways that disrespects parents and educators.