Two things to read today on this testing debate. Justin Cohen pushes back on the post below (great nsfw line, too) and some of the criticism of the Oliver segment. He makes a good point about the joyfulness issue. But most schools were, and are, joyful places – and we should note that what’s joyful differs for different people. Don’t mistake all the rhetoric for the on the ground reality. And, in the political world, some of the toxicity is a deliberate strategy to shut down debate and change. And it works! That’s why we have this bizarre situation where trying to improve a system that results in nine percent of low-income kids finishing college by the time they are 24 (among other poor or mediocre outcomes) is so controversial.
Also check out the letter from civil rights organizations on the testing issue. I don’t agree on the opt-out issue, seems like public schools have little to gain and a lot to lose by fighting opt-outs. But that’s because it’s ultimately a marginal issue unless people fan the flames. This point, however, is important:
Our commitment to fair, unbiased, and accurate data collection and reporting resonates greatest in our work to improve education. The educational outcomes for the children we represent are unacceptable by almost every measurement. And we rely on the consistent, accurate, and reliable data provided by annual statewide assessments to advocate for better lives and outcomes for our children. These data are critical for understanding whether and where there is equal opportunity.
But except in extreme cases some opt-outs don’t destroy the ability to do that. Their basic point though is an important one. Meanwhile, Jay Greene is almost certainly right about the politics here though. So that’s the puzzle to solve.