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.
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)