To pay for improving conditions for children of poverty: Reduce testing
Sent to the NY Times, Dec. 12
“Class matters, why won’t we admit it?” (Dec. 11) suggests that we can improve school performance of poor children by providing them with some of the advantages middle-class children have. Agreed. How should we pay for this?
Part of the answer: Don’t increase testing, reduce testing. To enforce the new standards, the US Department of Education is insisting on massive increases in testing, and is demanding that tests be administered online. Research shows that increasing testing does not increase achievement, and the cost will be enormous: New York City, for example, is budgeting a half billion to connect children to the internet primarily so they can take national tests (NY Times, 3/30/11).
Testing only when it is helpful will save billions. This can be spent to improve health care and nutrition, increase access to books and take other steps that will protect children from the effects of poverty.