Building on the Values of No Child Left Behind


Since NCLB took hold we’ve seen entire generations of children taught to bubble in answers like pros while losing the ability to problem solve and think critically. Our schools are earning “Exemplary” ratings, and yet, the only subjects students learn are those measured by a test. Testing companies and their lobbyists are earning billions while school districts try to balance budgets. Teachers and administrators across the nation are calling for change, but politicians and lobbyists–most of whom have never set foot in a public school–continue to beat the drum of test, test, test. The test in and of itself is not the problem. Having a tool to measure data is a good thing. The problem is politicians bought into testing company lies that the test was the salvation of education. And then they tied everything we do in education to that lie. Instead of investing in great teacher training and effective strategies for everything from classroom management to best learning practices, we invest in hour upon hour of “How to actively monitor a test” and “keeping the test secure.” (more)
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

(continued) The test has done nothing to improve teaching other than helping teachers learn to analyze data. While that’s not a bad thing, when it comes at the expense of actual student learning, it’s terrible.
Has their been some success in closing the achievement gap? Yes. Would that success happen without NCLB and its test driven theory that has created big business for Pearson, et al? Yes. We were already working on best practices before NCLB. True best practices, not best test taking practices. Reading this post, I have to wonder if the author has even looked at the exit-level tests we’re giving children today. If not, he should. And then he should take a released practice test, publish his results and then talk about how the test translates into real world learning and how NCLB saved education. Talk to professors and they’ll tell you the truth: today’s students aren’t prepared for post-secondary learning, but they are expert standardized test takers. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see standardized test taker as a great career path for any student, regardless of socioeconomic class.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

One response to “Building on the Values of No Child Left Behind

  1. to add to your points above, some of my college students are actually doing quite poorly on their MC exams because no one is coaching their studying; they may have done well on tests when they were “taught to them” but when classroom conditions are designed to stimulate thinking they find that their old study habits fall short of the mark. It’s more than a shame.

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