"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Finding the money for school repairs: reduce testing

Sent to the New York Times, Sept 13, 2011

The chair of the Ohio Republican party wonders how President Obama will find $25 billion for school repair ("In Ohio, Obama Emphasizes School Upgrades as Part of Jobs Proposal," Sept. 13). I have a suggestion: Reduce testing and scrap plans to increase testing.

The US Department of Education plans to increase testing well beyond the already excessive amount we are doing now, without any supporting evidence.

Test development and revision, administration and scoring will cost billions. The new tests will be administered on-line, which will cost additional billions.

New York City schools are planning to spend about a half billion so that students can take the new national tests online (NY Times, 3/30/11). Extrapolated to the entire country, this amounts to about $45 billion.

If we adopt the principle of only testing when it is helpful, this will save more than the amount the president wants to invest in schools.

Stephen Krashen

Note to editorial page editors

"New York City officials are planning to spend ...":

"Despite sharp drops in state aid, New York City’s Department of Education plans to increase its technology spending, including $542 million next year alone that will primarily pay for wiring and other behind-the-wall upgrades to city schools … and $315 million for additional schools by 2014…" (New York Times, "In city schools, tech spending to rise despite cuts," March 30, 2011)

Buried deep the article is a statement by "city officials" that the huge expenditures for technology are primarily to make it possible for students to take computerized national standardized tests.

1 comment:

  1. Education and testing are almost useless without the right facilities. Instead of spending so much on new types of examinations, Obama might want to consider using more of the money to get enough materials from tool shops to keep our schools and libraries in top shape.