A LYS Superintendent sent in the following.

I have written before about the failures of the high stakes testing and punitive accountability programs. Within the current operating framework, two questions are difficult to answer.  

1. If schools are failing, why do we need to generate harder exams every few years?  

2. If exam scores are improving but our students are still “failing”, why do we think our current framework of testing and accountability will ever produce the student product we are seeking?  

However, if we step outside our current framework, these questions have logical answers.  

It could be that the tests get harder because students continue to perform better on tests AND students are still not adequately prepared for all aspects of life after public school.  So far, we have approached the problem believing that testing performance and college-career readiness are somehow entangled.  

But a simpler solution to the conundrum could be that public schools serve no one well.  Standardized testing is driving the creation a standardized product.  Obviously, schools are failing to produce a standardized product that satisfies all stakeholders. With the best of intentions we have failed to acknowledge that all people are not the same. All people do not have the same goals, needs, or desires in life.  Yet we have embraced a public education system that forces all students into the same vehicle driven by the standardized testing engine.  This is not good for our children, it is not good for business, and it is not good for our country. 
Why? The standardized education product created by standardized education testing is irrelevant because it connects to nothing and no one. As such, this negatively impacts everything from funding to engagement to scores to dropout rates.

Without trying to have it both ways, I will add that I do think there is a role for standardized testing in public schools. But it is simply one measure, not the “be all end all,” that our elected leaders have made it.

Michael Seabolt

Think. Work. Achieve.

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