A warning to those countries (like NZ) that are getting ever more enamoured with the idea of testing.
The Network for Public Education (NPE)’s first National Conference closed with a call for Congressional hearings to investigate the over-emphasis, misapplication, costs, and poor implementation of high-stakes standardized testing.
Two of the eleven areas the NPE has asked to be looked into are:
Testing worldwide has always been part of schooling, and was primarily an in-house, in-class affair that is done, reviewed and acted on by the teacher under the guidance of their team and principal so that the teacher knew what to help the students learn next and students knew where they were at and where they were going. Surely those two things are by far the most important reasons for testing?
As global reforms have taken hold of education, testing has become a stick with which to politically beat schools, teachers. communities, and students. The system has been taken down the wrong path under extreme pressure from the likes of Pearson, Gates, the Wal-Mart clan, Murdoch, Arne Duncan and other reformers. It’s no understantement to say in some countries, such as the USA and Australia, the tests themselves are less about education and more a political and money-making tool.
The Network for Public Education (NPE) states:
“True intelligence in the 21st century depends on creativity and problem-solving, and this cannot be packaged into a test.
We need to invest in classrooms, in making sure teachers have the small class sizes, resources, and support they need to succeed.
We need to stop wasting time and money in the pursuit of test scores.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Take note New Zealand.
Sources and further reading:
What is Labour promising to do for education if elected in 2014…
“The approach to education will change.
I started my working life as a teacher. So I have an appreciation of the valuable job teachers do.
And I know a gimmick when I see one.
Bigger classes, unqualified teachers, charter schools and performance pay will achieve nothing.
The intelligent approach, the one I will follow is the one that asks: what will it take to make this education system the best in the world?
Our teachers are demoralised. Yet we all know they are critical to equipping our kids for the modern world.
We know too that shutting schools in Christchurch destroys communities and causes heartache for already distressed families.
I went to a public meeting there after receiving a moving letter from Christchurch mum Sonya Boyd. She’s devastated that her local school will close and is worried about the impact on her son Ben, his friends and in fact the whole community.
At that meeting a parent told me: Hekia Parata is doing what 10,000 earthquakes couldn’t do – destroying our school.
I say to the people of Christchurch: we are committed to helping you rebuild your city from the grassroots up – not the Beehive down.
You want, more than anything, to get your lives back, and on your own terms.
It’s time you had a government that stood alongside you.”
“We won’t be taking office to tinker, we’ll be taking office to remake New Zealand.
So I am asking you.
To rise up.
To take a message of hope to New Zealanders.
To fight for our future.
To say loud and clear that there is a better way. There is a Labour way.
We can do it, standing strong together.
We can make the change.
And we’ll do that in 2014.”
For the whole speech, click here.