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Anti-testing Resolutions

June 12, 2012

Taking a break from all the Vision 2020 fun I can handle, I want to mention the movement starting in northeast Oklahoma calling for education accountability changes. Elected board members from three rather sizable districts – Union, Jenks, and Sand Springs – have all passed resolutions expressing frustration at the ever-increasing emphasis on standardized testing.

Union’s board resolution decried the unintended consequences of overemphasizing standardized testing, such as “narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate.” The Sand Springs superintendent complained about the vast outlay of cash to the testing industry when education funding continues to lag.

Nationally, movements in other states are leaps ahead of Oklahoma on this issue. Diane Ravitch had a great column on this on her blog a few weeks ago. The idea is not that standardized tests need to go away. Rather it is the realization that as an industry (overlay that word across public education and try not to get chills), we give more time, money, and intellectual power to standardized testing than we did 10 years ago. In spite of this, the needle has not moved this much.

Given the malfeasance of the SDE last week in releasing student names after waiver hearings, I would be surprised if more Oklahoma districts aren’t quick to follow the lead of these three. It’s important that these complaints are coming from school boards members who have been elected by the same constituents who vote for legislators, the governor, and state superintendent. If enough school boards speak, the crowd at 23rd and Lincoln has to listen.

That’s all for now…see you at Vision 2020!

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