Educators have complained that the standards and tests for reading and math narrow the focus of instruction to just these subjects. Diane Ravitch told us recently that the feds' reaction to this complaint is simple: Test everything.
The professional organizations seem to think this is a great idea. Twenty-one educational organizations are asking for "standards, assessments, accountability systems, and public reporting of achievement" not just for reading and math but also for science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, health and physical education." (You can see the list of organizations at: http://www.ascd.org/public-policy/well-rounded-education.aspx.)
In other words, they are saying, "test us too."
Apparently, these groups approve of spending billions to develop national standards, tests linked to the standards, and new textbooks, and are eager to add even more testing to the unbelievable load that is currently planned.
There is no evidence that more rigorous standards and increased testing leads to better achievement; in fact, there is tremendous evidence that it has the opposite effect, converting instruction into test-prep rather than real learning.
These proposals also ignore the most serious problem in American education, under-funded schools in high-poverty areas that do not have the means to provide children with what they need to succeed.