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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

TNReady NOTReady

Last week the poster state for corporate education reform showed just how wasteful, embarrassing, and tragically miseducative the high stakes testing fiasco has become.  The $108 million that Tennessee paid Measurement, Inc. to put the new Common Core tests online proved not enough when testing time began and the entire system crashed.

The February 14 Tennessean had this letter to the editor, which eloquently states the obvious:
There is a message etched in the failure of the new online TNReady testing platform: Standardized testing has got to stop.

Testing results are superfluous and ultimately useless. Testing causes the loss of valuable classroom learning time, teachers lose their jobs and taxpayers pay millions for this meaningless exercise in bureaucracy.

Standardized testing does not measure the development of empathy and morality, the ability to persevere through difficulty, the capacity to care and to have altruism for your peers, the ability to process information and solve new problems in new situations, the capacity to think outside the box and see things from other perspectives, the development of integrity and principle, the command over spoken language or the zest for experimentation and discovery.

These are the things our students have lost because of testing. Instead, we are concerned only with test taking ability.

To make matters worse, insidiously placing the blame on teachers for poor student performance on test scores has decimated the entire teaching profession.

It is no more logical than blaming a farmer for a poor crop yield during a drought.

Great teachers have left the classroom because they can no longer practice the art of teaching. There is no education in teaching students how to take a test.

Having a surfeit of data results in a dearth of education. Our children lose. Take the cue that has been sent, and eliminate standardized testing. It is time to bring education back to our schools.

Bennett Williams, Signal Mountain 37377

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