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A "Seasonal" Testing Editorial from the Holiday Week
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- Subject: A "Seasonal" Testing Editorial from the Holiday Week
- From: Bob Schaeffer <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2006 11:20:47 -0500
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Nice line here: "If, indeed, the road to hell is paved with good
intentions, No Child Left Behind is educational asphalt."
'TIS THE SEASON TO BE TESTING
Anniston (AL) Star Editorial
December 30, 2005
In years past, during this happy season, students and teachers were
thinking of sugar plums and Santa Claus, of holidays and Christmas, of
bowl games and New Year’s parties.But not anymore.
These days, in high schools throughout Alabama, seniors settle down, not
for a long winter’s nap, but for a long week of testing. They take the
High School Graduation Exam, the test that overrides all else they have
done, the test that determines whether or not they graduate. Talk about
And not just on the seniors. Because No Child Left Behind mandates that
students be tested regularly, state school officials have decided that
this test will be used to satisfy NCLB demands.
Makes sense, huh? Use a test that is already in place, rather than a new
one. Let’s give an “atta boy” to the folks who came up with that.
But not to the folks who picked Harcourt Assessment Inc. to score the
results of the Alabama Reading and Mathematics Test taken last April —
another of the many tests to which students are subjected. Harcourt
Assessment messed up, scoring around 2,500 tests incorrectly, which
means that some schools that thought they were clear and free might
learn that they did not make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP, to folks
on the inside) and could face sanctions under No Child Left Behind.
Not that it will make much difference, for as we were told, along with
the good and the bad of testing comes the ugly. According to an
Associated Press report, unless NCLB is changed, by 2014, when students
in our schools are required to be 100 percent proficient in math and
reading, even our best schools won’t be.
If one kid drops the ball, one student slips up, one subgroup comes up
short, a school fails.
If there has ever been a classic example of lockstep, one-size-fits-all,
individuality-out-the-door, ideological gobbledygook, this is it. If,
indeed, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, No Child Left
Behind is educational asphalt.
But there is hope.
Between now and 2014, when the hammer falls, the law must be
reauthorized at least three times. That gives reasonable people three
chances to change things.
And during that time, there will be at least four elections, which will
give reasonable people four chances to vote out the folks who gave us
this and put sensible people in their place.
In theory, No Child Left Behind makes only a little sense. In practice,
it makes even less.