The billion dollar question for Arne Duncan: Why has testing become the driver in school reform?

testing (Medium)Here is a post to start off the month of April from Peter Smagorinsky, distinguished research professor of English education at the University of Georgia. Smagorinsky is the author of several interesting posts to the Get Schooled blog and also contributes pieces to the Washington Post Answer Sheet blog.

Enjoy this new essay on testing:

By Peter Smagorinsky

A recent study concludes that teachers who produce high test scores affect their students’ lives down the road. High income and other rewards, goes the argument, follow from high test scores, and so it behooves schools to produce those scores to ensure affluent futures for their students.

You can’t have test scores without tests, and in Georgia, we test, and then test again, often quite soon. Preparing for and administering multiple-choice tests pretty much dominate instructional time these days, because being graded by teachers trained in a discipline just isn’t good enough evidence of students’ learning.

Our students take the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills; the Iowa Test of Basic Skills; the Stanford Achievement Test; the Georgia Work Ready Test; Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests; Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests-Modified for students with disabilities because we wouldn’t want them to go untested; State End-of-Course Tests; District End-of-Course tests; gateway exams at selected academic points in many counties; annual county benchmark assessments; quarterly district benchmark assessments; the System to Enhance Educational Performance (STEEP) Oral Reading Test for elementary, middle, and high school students; the Georgia High School Graduation Testing battery; the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State (ACCESS) for English Language Learners to measure English language proficiency; Georgia Writing Assessments at three grade levels; the portfolio-based Georgia Alternate Assessment; and for the college-bound, the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and/or Advanced Placement test.

My apologies to those I’ve overlooked. Each of these assessments comes with a high price tag that drains funds from aspects of the educational process—from hiring aides to updating infrastructures to lowering class size through the expansion of the faculty—that tend to be profoundly underfunded.

Of course, it may well be that students who produce high scores on these tests already have the advantages in place in terms of basic affluence and school affiliation and readiness that contribute both to their test-taking prowess and their affluent social futures. Such factors, however, tend to get discounted in discussions of teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Indeed, poverty is denied by many as a factor in poor kids’ low test scores.

Yet in a recent talk at the University of Georgia, pioneering linguist Stephen Krashen made a compelling argument based on analyses of school performance data that he, David Berliner, Susan Ohanian, the late Gerald Bracey, and others have analyzed. Krashen argued that the billions being spent on testing and test preparation are misspent on redundant, excessive assessments.

He finds that the money could instead be put to two primary purposes in schools that are correlated with literacy improvement: providing students with better health and nutrition in the form of expanded in-school nursing services and free or reduced meals, because hungry, malnourished, and sickly kids have trouble paying attention to their school lessons (and soon might lose the safety net that insures their health); and investing in both libraries and librarians to make books, information, and guidance available to students.

Others might spend the savings available from scaled-back testing differently. They might hire additional teachers and aides to lower the crushing class sizes that assign up to 200 students a day to many teachers, or roughly 40 per class, which Bill Gates thinks is fine because test scores appear unrelated to class size, and test scores are the only data that matter, unless you are an English teacher and have to grade 200 essays thoughtfully. They might make school buildings safer, more modern, and more conducive to learning. They might allow teachers release time to invest in their own learning about effective teaching in their disciplines, or help finance their involvement in professional activities that enhance their teaching and the school’s overall quality. Or they might invest the savings in countless other ways to improve the school’s climate and its work with students.

U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his billionaire advisers have a very different idea: investing even more money in even more testing. Not just a little more more testing, according to Krashen, but expanding the testing intervention by twenty fold. NCLB took up a modest amount of instructional time and resources in comparison to Duncan’s Race To The Top. NCLB was content with testing reading and mathematics in grades 3-8. Duncan wants to test, and test again and again, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in all subject areas. In some states, tests are given several times each month, at immense expense to taxpayers, great intellectual cost to teachers and students, and enormous profit to well-connected edupreneurs. That’s a whole lot of bubbles to fill in after deciding whether the right answer is A, B, C, or D.

So, if you think we’re being over-tested now, wait till Duncan’s through. Kids will know the first four letters of the alphabet pretty well. But otherwise, their education will be impoverished.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

86 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
7:41 am

Peter doesn’t want to admit the truth.

Finland has by all accounts, become VERY successful in the education of their children.

They have made testing “front and center” of their educational reform efforts, haven’t they?

Oops, sorry; that’s exactly what they DON’T do. Oh, they DO succeed, they just DON’T emphasize testing.

MAYBE they are more concerned about their kids, than they are the bottom line finances of educational testing publishers.

What is Arne concerned about?

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
7:44 am

Please someone STEAL this phrase and post in EVERYWHERE you post.

Are you “Waiting for Superman” to teach your child?

Then REMOVE THE KRYPTONITE from the classroom!

catlady

April 1st, 2012
7:55 am

OR they could scale back taxes, giving more to charter schools or corporate pockets. That’s how we do it in Georgia!

teacher&mom

April 1st, 2012
7:57 am

Visit this site:
http://www.sidwell.edu/

Any evidence of mass testing?

teacher&mom

April 1st, 2012
8:02 am

Thanks to Dr. Smagorinsky for a well-written article.

For those who are interested in hearing both sides of the education reform debate, I highly recommend Dr. Krashen and Susan Ohanian. Ohanian maintains a web site and sends out a weekly newsletter with various links to important education news.

Ms. Downey, You may want to sign up for her email… She reminds me of Gerald Bracey.

SC parent and teacher

April 1st, 2012
8:09 am

The list can get pretty long even for an individual student in a single year. My son was in 8th grade last year and these were the tests he took:

8th grade benchmarks for math: 1st, 2nd, 3rd quarters (aligned with state test)
8th grade English benchmarks 1st, 2nd, 3rd quarters (aligned with state test)
MAP assessment math (at least twice (as a diagnostic tool)
MAP assessment reading (at least twice) (as a diagnostic tool)
English 1 End of Course test (separate benchmarks for this)
Algebra 1 End of Course test (this course substituted for 8th grade math, so the 8th grade benchmarks were administered as well as Algebra 1 benchmarks)
Benchmarks in science (3)
Benchmarks in social studies (3)
PASS writing test (the state test) 2 days
PASS reading test 1 day
PASS science test 1 day

South GA Teacher

April 1st, 2012
8:22 am

because they have contracted and out sourced all assessment and evaluation to for profit companies who will donate tons of money to politicians who back up ALEC legislation. AKA: Jan Jones.

Peter Smagorinsky

April 1st, 2012
8:23 am

Ms. Fraud, I’m having trouble following your reasoning. First, I can’t admit the truth (which apparently you know, but aren’t telling us). Then you contradict yourself by saying that Finland does/does not emphasize testing. I appreciate your ongoing enthusiasm for discussing education on Maureen’s blog, but don’t always understand your point.

btw, the Finland Myth is well-crafted and bought hook, line, and sinker by too many in the US. There’s an essay in the works by an Australian friend of mine who’s spent time there and doesn’t buy it. I’ll post it when it’s available (next month I hope).

crankee-yankee

April 1st, 2012
8:24 am

Duncan is a loose cannon. He used what educational background he has as a stepping stone to power & is now drinking the kool-aid.

What has he left in his wake? We do not yet know for sure but I suspect it will be as sordid as the wake left in Texas by dubya. The education community knew things weren’t working in Texas back then but no one was listening to us.

Learn from our mistakes? Not yet.

carlosgvv

April 1st, 2012
8:28 am

Some educational pyschologists concluded, years ago, that the only way minorities could match their white classmates in grade achivement was with rote learning. This apparently was picked up by the Government and now all students are drilled with rote memorization over and over and over and over, and then tested. This is just the latest, but by no measn the last, in the seemingly endless social experimentations that started in the 60’s.

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
8:34 am

It’s was sarcasm-sorry if it didn’t translate to the written word.

I just picked Finland in the same way another poster picked Sidwell Friends. Examples where we clearly see testing is NOT the magic bullet, Arne wants us to think it is. (Why we trust the integrity of a guy who came to APS twice to politically prop up Beverly Hall AFTER cheating was evident is beyond me)

I personally think, to channel James Carville on Bush the Elder, “It’s the discipline, Stupid!” when it comes to education, but was open minded to what was going on in Finland.

PLEASE post the essay when it becomes available.

Again, sorry the sarcasm didn’t translate…

TeacherMom4

April 1st, 2012
8:35 am

Let’s see, in 5th grade in my county we get: pretest in August, CogAT in Sept., ITBS and 1st quarter interim in Oct., 1st semester benchmark in Dec., CRCT practice test in Feb., 3rd quarter benchmark in March and the state writing test, CRCT in April, Posttest in May. Except for CogAT and writing, all tests cover all subjects. We spend literally weeks of the school year testing. Each test subject takes about 2 hours, which takes us up to lunch and specials time. After that, we have about 2.5 hours to teach for the rest of the day. Five subjects means a whole week of this each time we test. The CRCT practice and 3rd quarter benchmark are back-to-back, so that’s 2 weeks of testing with only partial instruction. And yet we are still expected to teach the curriculum to mastery and finish it a month before school actually ends.

Once again, the kids who come to school ready to learn, understanding their purpose in coming, who were read to as little children, spoken to conversationally, behave at school, and do not have parents constantly making excuses for them and blaming others for their failures, do fine unless they have some kind of learning disability or low IQ. These are more typical of the kids you find at higher SES schools. The Title I schools are much more likely to have kids who are apathetic, disruptive, and lacking in background knowledge and skills. This all comes from family goals and values. Testing them more will not help them be successful, but giving me back some choices in the specifics of what I teach in a topic might. If we could take the time to get these students interested in the curriculum by delving into it and taking a closer look at things that interest them, we might build a love of learning in them. But as long as our primary goal is exposing them to trivia at top speed just to cram everything in before the test (whichever test it happens to be that month), these kids are never going to find learning enjoyable and worthwhile.

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
8:39 am

“What has he left in his wake? We do not yet know for sure but I suspect it will be as sordid as the wake left in Texas by dubya.”

And don’t forget Rod Paige.

It’s time to be honest about at least ONE aspect of Obama/Duncan-what was billed as “hope and change” has really been smoke and mirrors, every bit as LACKING in integrity as Bush/Paige and the “Houston Miracle” were.

EVERY bit as lacking.

always an educator

April 1st, 2012
8:43 am

I know it is easy to create a laundry list of tests, but grade 3-8 student takes one set of tests (CRCT) aligned to the state’s curriculum at the end of the year. Grades 3,5,8 take a writing test. Total testing time including the writing test is around 12 hours for students. Approximately 6 days of testing for 2 hours each day in a 180 day school year.

High School students take End of Course Tests for a small fraction of their classes.

The rest of the tests mentioned are both not mandatory nor even paid for by the state. College entrance exams and AP tests are only taken if the student chooses and the ITBS is no longer a state program. The others are tests offered for different populations for the same tests that were already listed.

Educators have always used testing to find out if students are learning. My kids take numerous tests from their teachers every week. The difference is that we now have standardized testing and we can actually compare how kids are performing between classrooms, schools, and systems.

Yes we have become overly focused on testing, but there isn’t a single indicator that tells us how students learn that is more objective and clear than standardized tests.

Maybe we need to refocus on teaching rather than testing but standardized tests are a critical way to inform the success of education.

always an educator

April 1st, 2012
8:56 am

180 days in a school year with about 6 hours a day of instruction = 1080 hours of instruction.

12 hours of state mandated testing.

equals 1% of instructional time

Being Censored by @Maureen

April 1st, 2012
9:02 am

Keep posting about testing, @Maureen. You are correct that testing is getting too much emphasis. It should be an INDICATOR only. But the AJC is going to retract its cheating study very soon. There is enough evidence in the public domain to suggest that the AJC has distributed a flawed study and was allegedly unethical in how it went about publishing this report. The AJC has lost its right to be the driver of education reform efforts thanks to the reckless disregard for the truth, and sound research practices.

Lindy Johnson

April 1st, 2012
9:04 am

@ Always an educator:
No one is arguing that standardized tests should be completely abolished. The point is that we have plenty of standardized tests in place, and do not need to spend billions to implement even more tests that will essentially tell us what we already know (from the many tests that students already take). Smagorinsky (and Krashen’s) point is that the billions (yes, billions) that will be spent to implement yet another assessment for the Common Core State Standards could most certainly be better spent on improving libraries, buying books for kids to read, reducing class size and so on. As a former public school teacher and parent of school-aged children, it makes me sick to see educational publishing/testing giants such as Pearson (who made 9 billion last year) profiting from assessing our children, while teachers have to hold fundraisers to buy books for their classroom libraries. It’s simply a matter of where we want our tax dollars to go. Me? I want them going to schools, not educational testing corporations.

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
9:13 am

Since schools are being consolidated, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to honor Beverly Hall by naming a school after her?

I call on Shirley Franklin, and Andy Young to spearhead this most worthy effort.

Beverly Fraud

April 1st, 2012
9:25 am

“But the AJC is going to retract its cheating study very soon.”

I knew all along those two hundred and fifty six THOUSAND changed answers were all the result of diligent children INSPIRED by Beverly Hall to do their best!

Kathy Augustine was right! “We see no need to investigate; we expect outliers every year.”

The fact that they were in in one BILLION outliers just means APS students were INSPIRED.

Nothing more, nothing less. Cheating? Ha!

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:25 am

it’s erally very simple if you stop to think about it:
testing is a simple solution for simple minds

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:27 am

every time somebody brings up Finland, my eyes roll up in my head.
its not even close to an apples to apples comparision.

the magic Finns have two things going for them we don’t:
1-homegneous population
2-much smaller population

ATL Teacher

April 1st, 2012
9:29 am

What about the NAEP assessment? Did I overlook it? This sad and RTTT tied with teacher effectiveness, funding, etc. Testing is not improving education like it was intended. I was thinking about tests I took in school: teacher made, CAT, ITBS, and the SAT (that’s it). Maureen: Please forward to Mr. Duncan.

teacher&mom

April 1st, 2012
9:34 am

@Bootney – after you get over your eye roll…smile…you have to admit that they do have a few good ideas.

Elementary children are encouraged to play and learn in a school environment that reminds me of my early childhood years…when teachers were allowed to practice the art of teaching with a dose of common sense. Recess, art, music, lots of reading, etc.

High school students have different options…trade/techical, university tracks, etc.

Granted it is a very different culture. I get that part. I also see some very good ideas. Perhaps the upcoming article on Finland will burst my bubble, but dang it, we’ve got to get off this obsessive testing train. It is running our kids into the ground.

Jayne

April 1st, 2012
9:35 am

Some people think that “billionaire advisors” and “corporations” are somehow persuasive slurs. In fact they tell me more about the perspective and paucity of thought that lies behind their uses.

It seems the writer does not like testing and his solution to education is limited accountability and a lot more money. Yawn.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:35 am

why don’t we do a better job educating?
simple.

we-the system-are invested in two issues above and beyond anything else
1- self perpepuation of the system first and formost
2- partonage of and by the leaders to ensure #1.

truly good educators are innovative, connect with their students, and put educating young minds ahead of politics and the current “dig me” management issue of the day.

all of which fly exactly counter to the real goals stated above.

teacher&mom

April 1st, 2012
9:36 am

It seems that even Texans, home of standardized testing, have had enough.

http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/john-kuhn-roars-back-texans-rebel-against-testing

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:37 am

@ t&m

point taken.
still, its easier to do these things when the culture isn’t as disharmonious as ours.

Maureen Downey

April 1st, 2012
9:38 am

@Teacher, Bootney, The Finnish education researcher who wrote the best selling book on his nation’s schools is coming to Atlanta in September. I have heard him speak and he does concede the major differences between us and Finland, but he also says there are lessons other countries could consider, no matter their size. He also notes that his homeland has continued to see improvements even while its schools grow more diverse. And his fans often note that there are US states with similar diversity rates to Finland, but nowhere near the achievement.
Maureen

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:40 am

@ t&m

and I’m 10,000% behind you on derailing the testing train.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
9:46 am

@ Maureen,

understand, but even somewhere as racially and culturally monchrome as the mythical Pigsnuckle Minnesota have to deal with the edicts and influences from the overall more diverse whole.

I’ve never been a fan of European comparisions: having lived and visited there often, I know it to be culturally different at a most fundamental level.

sorta why we had the whole American revolution to begin with.

Peter Smagorinsky

April 1st, 2012
9:57 am

In case you missed them, here are op-eds I wrote for the Washington Post on dismantling the U.S. DOE.

Smagorinsky, P. (2012, March 11). Why the Ed Department should be reconceived-or abolished. The Answer Sheet of The Washington Post. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/why-the-ed-department-should-be-reconceived–or-abolished/2012/03/09/gIQAHfdB5R_blog.html#pagebreak

Smagorinsky, P. (2012, March 28). How to remake the Education Department (or, it’s time to give teachers a chance). The Answer Sheet of The Washington Post. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-to-remake-the-education-department-or-its-time-to-give-teachers-a-chance/2012/03/21/gIQAFg3KfS_blog.html#pagebreak

Don H

April 1st, 2012
10:20 am

Years from now, when parents are finally free to send their kids to whichever public or private school they have confidence in, testing will still be a feature. Parents and genuine educators will insist upon it.

But this blog’s gang of union astroturfers (all the same person?) will forever rail against the idea of parents being free to choose—because, in their mind(s), public schools are for teachers. Not for students. And not for innovation. Tuition vouchers would too quickly imperil all that.

A former teacher myself, I’ve asked teacher union types why it is they have so little confidence that a voucher approach could insure teacher compensation is fair in all schools eligible. The lack of a coherent answer leads me to believe there are additional reasons they prefer the status quo. Control over the ideological content of curriculum, perhaps?

Judging by how quickly the Georgia Association of Educators fell from #1 in popularity among Georgia teachers … to a very distant second once PAGE arrived on the scene … I can understand their aversion to supplying parents with true choices.

But why should the Obama children have choices the kids of less affluent parents don’t have?; why shouldn’t other parents also get to send their children to schools they have confidence in?

Being Censored by @Maureen

April 1st, 2012
10:21 am

Beverly Fraud, we are on the same page. My comment was about last Sunday’s AJC story. Their methodology was materially flawed and I can’t wait to share my findings tomorrow with the world. I have a boatload of info here. The AJC study may have had some validity in Atlanta, but it was CLEARLY not appropriate for comparing against other cities whose demographics and other environmental conditions were fundamentally different from Atlanta, and the AJC did not take these differences into account when it built its methodology.

Buzz144

April 1st, 2012
10:24 am

There is no competition in the sub-college education world. The government reaches into the pockets of its taxpayers and, under the implied threat of force, takes the money to run an education system. And the teachers love it. Monopoly breeds status quo and mediocraty. Just look at what happened to the world of communications after AT&T lost their monopoly. There was an explosion of options which revolutionized communications and set the stage for the internet.
Let’s end the government monopoly on our schools. Let’s introduce real competition. Let’s implement school vouchers.

Proud Teacher

April 1st, 2012
10:55 am

It is amazing how every educational dictum that is downloaded on the individual classroom teacher’s hard-drive insists on forcing the sweet round child into a square pigeon-hole of standardized testing, standardized learning, and standardized teachers. Those of us who gave birth and raised children realize there is no how-to book on any shelf anywhere that predicts every possible issue with raising or teaching children. Parents as well as teachers must learn to think for themselves for survival. This does not address the parents who do not accept the responsibilities of child rearing. Standardized testing is important but not nearly as important as looking at the eyes of a child in your classroom and teaching him what he doesn’t know or understand at that moment that is no where on the CCCGPS or any other rules of pedgogy. No standardized process of teaching can possibly understand that moment. No standardized test results can replace this. Extremism needs to go somewhere else, not in the classroom.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
10:57 am

@ Don

ignoring your willful ingnorance on the teachers union issue:

lets approach your premise from a strictly business POV.
what are you, Joe public, willing to give us in exchange for mobility?

in our society nothing comes for free, and everything is up for sale.
so what are you willing to trade in exchange for vouchers?

put your intellectal money where your mouth is.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
11:00 am

BTW:

GAE has fallen from grace for two reasons.
1- it has no, zip, silch, zero, abilty to do a damn thing for us
2- it won’t even try.

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:05 am

Tests should determine if the student has mastered the subject matter for the year – if not, the student should master the (basics of) the subject matter before being allowed to progress to the next grade level. Unfortunately, that is NOT what the tests are used for. I have no problem with testing. I have no problem with “teaching to the test” as long as the test measure what should be learned.

bootney farnsworth

April 1st, 2012
11:05 am

if you boil it down, the answer is really simple.

the emphasis on testing ultimately comes down to a system in which
the funding agency – the gov’t- is getting exactly what they want.
a population trained to respond via rote to simple instructions.

if we wanted a thinking society, we’d be pushed to teach kids so
they could do just that.

think about it:
would a really well educated society continue to send those morons back
to Washington or Atlanta?

would a really well educated society look around and say the best two possible choices to run the nation are Obama or Romney?

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:07 am

I remember in school that the teacher gave periodic tests (including pop quizes) and that became a signicant part of your grade. Unfortunately, now grades are not an indicator of student performance (either because of teachers of of administrators). Or Hope.

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:08 am

If teachers gave students the grade they deserved and administrators did not change them and students that FAIL are allowed to FAIL and are held back, we would never have needed any further testing.

Teacher2

April 1st, 2012
11:09 am

@Don H – I for one don’t fear bringing real competition into education. And talk of eliminating performance testing is just plain silly. But won’t those parents who relocate to far suburbs to escape unfavorable demographics also oppose a voucher system which in effect levels the playing field? Finland, after all, isn’t Fulton County. Nor is Washington DC to be easily mistaken for North Dakota.

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:11 am

“A recent study concludes that teachers who produce high test scores affect their students’ lives down the road”

See, there is your misconception. TEACHERS do not produce high scores – students produce or do not produce high scores. Teachers can only help produce somewhat better scores. TEACHERS cannot undo lax parenting and poor SES conditions.

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:13 am

If you want to test the effectiveness of TEACHERS, then you should have one test at the beginning of the year and one at the end and see if there is any improvement. And teachers should not be bound to the curriculum, since some ninth-grade teachers would need to be teaching the ABCs and 1+1.

Teacher2

April 1st, 2012
11:17 am

Let me add, by the way, that I think the free market is the key to America’s success. Why it hasn’t long since been introduced to K-12 education is puzzling.

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:22 am

“Let me add, by the way, that I think the free market is the key to America’s success”

Exactly how will “free market” introduced to K-12 education help a poor black student in SE Atlanta that doesn’t want to learn? Tell me that. All “free market” will do is help the affluent (that don’t need help)’

teacher&mom

April 1st, 2012
11:34 am

“But why should the Obama children have choices the kids of less affluent parents don’t have?; why shouldn’t other parents also get to send their children to schools they have confidence in?”

Excellent question! Of course, you believe that choice and vouchers will give your children the education the Obama children enjoy. It won’t. Your choice and vouchers will give make you happy because you’ve been programmed to believe high test scores are the ultimate indicator of academic success. You’ve been programmed to believe that a high quality education = a efficient/cost effective education.

Meanwhile, those who’ve been feeding you this pink slime are sending their children to +30K a year private schools where standardized testing is non-existent. Cruise around the Sidwell Friends web site. They offer an amazing, high-quality education. You won’t get that education with a 5k, 10K or 20K voucher.

Any idea why it costs so much to provide the quality education at Sidwell friends?

http://www.sidwell.edu/admissions/tuition-and-fees/index.aspx

(and please note that at the middle/high school level that price doesn’t even buy your textbooks)

mountain man

April 1st, 2012
11:37 am

About vouchers – I am all for them. But the vouchers should only be for the amount of money that removing YOUR student from the system will save the system. Not the “average cost of educating a studetn”. That figure is highly skewed. For the average normal student, it is probably around $3000 per year. For the SPED student it may be upwards of $20,000 per year! So if you want to send your child to a private school, go ahead, and here is your money that we save. Most people want to eat their cake and have it, too (the correct quotation). They want to be able to send their child to a private school and have the rest of us pay for it.

Lee

April 1st, 2012
11:43 am

Why the testing?

1. School systems were graduating illiterate who were performing on an elementary grade level.

2. We cannot trust that a grade of “A” really corresponds to “A” level work.

3. Somewhere along the way, someone figured out there was big money to be made supplying schools with the teaching-fad-of-the-week as well as test booklets. Much like the military-industrial complex Eisenhour warned about, the educational-industrial complex drives policy.

4. The politically correct, equal outcomes crowd who thinks that someone with an 80 IQ can perform on the same level as the student with a 120 IQ, which contributed heavily to items #1 and #2. Let’s face it, a Clydesdale will never win the Kentucky Derby, so why waste time trying to train him to run. Here’s a novel idea, train the Clydesdale to be a draft horse and the Thoroughbred to be a race horse.

5. Let’s not forget one of the main players in failed educational reforms – the schools of education at our universities. Back in the 60’s, one didn’t have to have an “Education Degree” to teach elementary kids to add and subtract. Middle and High school teachers had degrees in their subject area (history, science, etc), but did not have “Science Education” degrees. Bottom line, entire schools of education were created to serve this new market. A lot of money to be made teaching teachers.

Lost in all this is the student, parent, and taxpayer. ….and we are the ones who have to pay for the mess…