Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay
Last week US News, a reliably reformy news outlet, gave some space to Michael Hansen of Brookings Institution, a reliable outlet for bone-headed education analysis, and he used that space to declare that Teaching To the Test Is Okay, thereby preserving Brookings' record of getting almost everything about education dead wrong. But stick around, because this article has one of the best closing lines ever.
Hansen starts out by stating the problem in terms that set the stage for the answer Hanson likes. Since No Child Left Behind kicked off the "springtime ritual" (well, that sounds pleasant, like a Maypole or Senior Prom) Hanson notes that "many have wrung their hands" (rhetoric only slightly less dismissive than "clutched their pearls") about testing crowding out other instruction. And he formulates the questions by aiming straight at teachers. How do teachers respond to these conflicting goals? "Are they teaching to the test to the detriment of authentic instruction? And how do their choices affect our kids?"
Got it? If testing is crowding out authentic instruction, that's because of teacher choices. It's on us, colleagues, and not on policies that link the futures of our schools schools, our students, and our careers to the test results.
Hansen calls these "important questions" and ties them to the rise of the opt-out movement. Then this
And perhaps to counter the narrative that teachers may be at fault and to protest the encroachment of test-driven evaluation on teachers' autonomy,teacher unions have also joined in condemningpolicy's overemphasis on standardized tests.
Got it? We teachers oppose the Big Standardized Tests because we're hiding our own blame for the narrowing of education and to keep our crowns of mighty power in our classrooms. Couldn't possibly be because as education professionals, we can see and understand that the tests are bad policy and bad tests, bringing no educational benefits and in many cases plenty of damage to our students. No-- there's no chance that teacher and teacher union objections to the tests are grounded in legitimate CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay: