Standardized Test Discontent Spreads the Nation
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | April 21, 2016 National Center for Policy Analysis
As the nation moves into the peak weeks of the 2016 standardized exam season, the backlash against standardized tests is escalating sharply with opt-outs and protests being staged in many states.
Parents are angry that governors, legislatures and educators are ignoring their requests to reduce testing and return classrooms to learning instead of teaching to the test.
In theory, standardized tests are supposed to identify gaps and hold districts accountable for student success. However, parents claim the tests are setting up their children to fail. Reading passages are reported to be several grade levels above the current grade level of the student. Teachers have reported that students cry because they do not have time to complete the tests, so randomly bubble in answers.
Parents have posted on Facebook pages their frustrations that the tests are developmentally inappropriate, too long and difficult, and should not be used to evaluate teachers.
Other parents believe the purpose of the tests is not to determine learning gaps or hold school districts accountable, but rather to reap financial benefits for those behind Common Core and the tests.
Some states seem to have become so enslaved to tests that there is no genuine concern for the child’s well-being and no evidence of common sense in decisions.
In Florida, 15-year-old Maddy Drew, a cerebral palsy patient, is enrolled in Sarasota’s school system. Maddy cannot feed herself or speak. She uses a wheelchair and communicates with her one good hand by pointing to iPad symbols. She will never attend college, hold a job, or live on her own. Her mother requested that she be exempted, on medical grounds, from one of Florida’s standardized tests. Yet the state stupidly demanded that Maddy take the test or be kicked out of her special-needs school.
Is there a reason for such extreme irrational behavior by a state? Is there a problem if the students do not take the tests?
Under federal regulations, if fewer than 95% of students refuse to take the test, the state can lose federal funding.
However, Monty Neil of FairTest says he does not believe that will happen. So far in New York where there is massive opt-not, not one district has lost funding to date. Instead it is about forcing compliance.
Are annual tests more about commerce and government control than about educating children?
No wonder moms are on the march for their cubs. It’s not that children are failing tests. It’s that the system is failing the children.
Copyright @2016 Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. All rights reserved. www.drcarolehhaynes.com