In a recent chat on Twitter, we were discussing questions like, “If you could have any historical figure talk to your class, who would it be?” and “If you could change anything in education’s past, what would it be?” I was expecting some great answers that touched on some of our most challenging times in educational history and drew attention to the injustice/inequity/inadequacy of public schools from long ago. Instead I was shocked by what I would consider a short-sighted answer: TESTING.
Seriously? Testing is the historical educational problem that you would “fix”. C’mon educators. What about segregated schools, Native American assimilation schools, inner city broken schools, special education barbarism, or our current lack of adequate support for ELLs. Instead you went with the supposed “testing crisis”. Apparently the propaganda machine has brainwashed us into seeing an inconvenience and uncomfortable reality of testing as some sort of plague. There are worse things than testing.
In many ways, the modern testing framework is intended to monitor and positively effect the very inequalities that have persisted in our long educational history. Low test scores should be a cause for alarm in schools, neighborhoods, and local governments. It should be a chance to increase funding, training, and support – but instead it’s a source of controversy. We end up turning a blind eye to the reality of the “gap” that exists. As a matter of fact, we even blame poverty and injustice as the reason that we are helpless to bring change to historically disadvantaged students and families. What happened to social justice?
This is the biggest crisis we face in education today = our own ignorance and inaction. Remember that interview to get you a teaching job? Where did THAT PERSON GO, the one that thought they could change the world? We need them to come back, so we can make a difference. I don’t know anyone who LOVES testing, but in many ways it is a necessary evil and leads to systems change to help ensure that the local education that ALL students receive is the best that we can give.