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Another Anti-Testing Resolution

August 14, 2012

Last night, Owasso became at least the fourth Tulsa-area school district to pass a resolution opposing high stakes testing. Here are some quotes from last night (as published in the Tulsa World):

“People are beginning to realize that the danger of placing so much emphasis on testing, particularly high-stakes type testing, is that teachers end up teaching to the test and do little else.” – Superintendent Clark Ogilve

“We feel like we should put the brakes on a little bit, step back and come up with some other criteria to get an adequate snapshot of what a child has learned other than just one test score.” – Ogilve

“One thing about the Legislature is, I think, a lot of them haven’t darkened the door of a classroom since they were kids themselves.” – Owasso school board President Gail Ballinger, a retired teacher

The way I see it, teachers will do anything to help their students be successful. And at they very least, they will uphold the ethical principle of “Do no harm.” When state policy-makers tie graduation and third grade promotion to a test (or series of tests), teachers will work tirelessly to keep their students from harm. They will work to help them pass those tests … at the expense of everything else – elective courses, creativity, innovation …

In a way, it’s like eating at a national chain restaurant. You can get sustenance there, and you might even fill up. But it’s nothing remarkable. Some of us have been in education a long time and remember when we weren’t painted into little boxes that actually diminish the quality and individualization of instruction. And we are the ones fighting.

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