Joel Klein, currently Chancellor of New York City schools, has been mentioned in several places as a possible Secretary of Education in the next administration.
Considering his love of standardized testing, I hope he stays in NYC.
In an article about Barack Obama’s education policy in today’s Wall Street Journal, Klein criticizes the idea of holding schools and students accountable without relying on standardized tests. Obama has pledged to reform the federal No Child Left Behind law in part by decreasing accountability systems’ reliance on standardized testing.
However, while the new administration may be looking for an alternative to our over-reliance on standardized testing, there are other groups, like the Gates foundation, who believe the problem is not the philosophy, it’s that the tests themselves that are “low-quality”.
Foundation officials said that the moves are motivated by their frustration with current tests and standards for what children should know, which each state drafts individually as part of the federal No Child Left Behind law. Vicki Phillips, the Gates Foundation’s director of education programs, said the result is a “testing crisis in this country,” in which tests are losing credibility among teachers, who see them as so low-quality that they are useless.
The only “testing crisis” we have in this country is the incredibly stupid concept that the only way to assess student learning is by using an annual machine-scored, lower-common-denominator exam, the taking of which a large part of the instructional year is dedicated.