• State Testing – Friend or Foe

    Why.  State top educators (loose translation – people who work in the education field with no real practical classroom experience) and governors in 48 states (don’t you wish you lived in the two hold-outs) got together and decided that kids weren’t well enough prepared for college-level work.  Standards were bumped up to meet what colleges, technical schools and employers are looking for.  According to this brain trust, if testing standards increase, then college freshmen will be better prepared for college.  Disregarding the fact that today’s children help their parents with their “smart” phones.  

    What.  Higher standards were adopted for math and English.  The new standards for math and English are called the “Common Core State Standards”, or CCSS.  These new, higher standards were implemented from kindergarten through 12th grade, because let’s face it – our kindergarteners are such slackers.  Enough with nap time, 5-year olds should be able to reason, analyze and think critically to problem solve.  Never mind that this testing takes away from their actual learning.   

    When.  Back in the grunge era, the 90’s, most states implemented standards for education.  Depending on what state you lived in determined what state standards were used, because each state developed their own twisted version of what kids need to learn, or in this case, be tested on.  The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) started brainstorming back in 2007 on a way to standardize these state standards.  Basically, the NGA and the CCSSO came up with the BS that is CCSS.  Political, no?

    How.  Beginning in 2010, only the most vital and helpful concepts in each subject were taught.  Allegedly, studying this way, ensured that students would begin to see that subjects overlap, no matter how different the subjects may be.  Applying math principals to science, or vice versa, will assure that students are becoming more adept at problem solving.  There are rumors that a parent can “opt out” their child from taking the tests, but this is a muddy, gray area.  These standards apply to not only public school, but charter schools as well.  Some private schools have adopted the CCSS voluntarily.  Homeschoolers will be affected by virtue of SATs and ACTs standards also being raised, putting them at a disadvantage.  

    Considering these standards were whipped up in less than a year, in behind-closed-doors sessions, begs the question “How effective are these standards?”  Were lower-income school districts taken into consideration?  Was the level of parental involvement taken into account?   Were these standards beta tested prior to them being implemented nationwide?  

    There are pre-tests, interim tests, post-tests and computer-based performance assessments. With the plethora of tests, the school year is whittled down to simply testing and no real learning.    Some school districts are ill-equipped, with virtually no funding and no computers to be seen.  Students are anxiety-ridden, some to the point of vomiting.  

    Is this the college prep we want our kids to have?  Do we want sleep-deprived, anxious, depressed zombies running our nation in the next twenty years?  Maybe the drug companies are behind this movement, as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety prescriptions are set to sky-rocket. 

    Written by: Allyson Johns

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