Saturday, July 5, 2014

Is It Time for Congressional Hearings on Standardized Testing In Public Schools?

Teaching to the test. Test scores. Standardized Testing. Accountability. Tests.

The incredible rise in significance and impact of mandatory standardized testing is becoming the lead story in public education these days. And for good reason - few of us who went through school fifteen and twenty and thirty and forty years ago can understand how significant filling in bubbles has become. As the NEA meets in Denver, and judge dismisses a PARCC-associated lawsuit in New Mexico, the issue of standardized testing and its role in public education is coming to a head.

To that end the Network for Public Education, among others, is calling for Congress to hold formal hearings to investigate the significance, benefit, and burden of mandated standardized tests in public schools. There is no doubt that the impact of No Child Left Behind lingers with the use of standardized tests for schools. As states continue the push to link test scores to teachers' jobs, despite evidence this is a bad idea and virtually worthless, the education field looks to Congress for help.

So, is it time for hearings? Congress likes to have its nose in everything, and it certainly took an interest in "testing" professional athletes for steroid use. If Congress is willing to investigate sports, it should certainly take an interest in public schools.

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