A collection of writings about and against the educational model of standardized testing.
In the foreword, Diane Ravitch (Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools, 2013, etc.) discusses the policies that she helped shape, which would lead to the need for this book. In her position as a top-ranking official in the Department of Education, she channeled years of research into the creation of solutions to fix what was perceived as a substandard education system. Higher standards, measured by tests reflecting teacher success, were thought to be the way forward. As the standards were implemented, Ravitch’s research into the results pointed toward a different outcome—that the only things truly “fixed” by these new standards were, in fact, the parts that weren’t broken. As educators have spoken out about the failings of the approach, the criticisms have coalesced into a unified discontentment. In this collection, editor and history teacher Hagopian pulls material from a wide range of sources; his contribution stems from his role at Garfield High School, the site of the boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress testing in 2013. Other teachers from schools across the nation, with varying backgrounds (those backgrounds often provide the impetus for their essays), also share anecdotal stories, hard data and compelling arguments against a system that rewards teachers for narrowing their efforts toward achieving the all-important test score and punishes them for the outside-the-box thinking that was once considered essential for being able to reach the greatest number of students. Alfie Kohn provides the introduction, and other notable contributors include Alma Flor Ada, Phyllis Tashlik and Carol Burris.
Essays, speeches and interviews also come from students, parents and government officials, providing a comprehensive guide to the pitfalls of standardized testing, with arguments to win over even the most skeptical school reformer.