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How We End The War Over Standardized Testing


How We End The War Over Standardized Testing

Jeff Bryant

Anyone who grew up in the 1960s, during the time of the Cold War, remembers our nation’s response to the threat of nuclear war by enforcing “duck and cover” drills in our schools.

The drill would start with the shrill whistle blast over the PA speaker at the front of the classroom – once, twice, then again.

“Class! Class!” the teacher would shout, “Stop what you’re doing and duck and cover.”


During the Reagan Revolution, the country amped up its tendency to see most everything through the lens of the business model. In education, students were now (increasingly) seen merely as a stock material to be tested for conformity to standards (and subservience to the corporate order). Standardized testing made sense using that cynical lens. Once started, an entire ecosystem of testing businesses arose to fill the various niches formed, such as computerized testing, remedial tutoring, and lobbying, to name a few.

During this soul-crushing debacle, technology arose in which the access to computers exploded. Unfortunately, the computers were applied in the classrooms to perform a great deal of the mental work that needed to be exercised by the students. We have and continue to raise generations that can produce answers using their computers, but have no reasoning skills to determine whether those answers are correct or desired.

These developments are certainly without close precedent in history and do not bode well for the continuation of knowledge into the future. I predict that at some point in time if education isn’t brought back to the mind until late adolescence at the earliest, there will be a tremendous shock to “civilization” as we know it.

The corporate tentacles must be wrested from their grasp on public education, which must be returned to a humanistically based effort to continue genuine growth in the human experience. Fundamentals, including but not limited to the following must be included: reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history, art, music, language, economics, crafts, and physical education.

Education must stand up to the corporate tyranny that has cynically viewed it as a vast captive marketplace for its wares. Its time to pay teachers, not behind the scenes CEOs. And it needs to be education and not training if progress is to be served. It’s past time to remove the behavioral-science-based bullshit from our schools. Conformity is for fools! To thine own self be true!


We do not have a “War over Standardized Testing.”

We have a War over Public Education. Standardized testing is the corporate Trojan horse with which the right intends to eradicate all public schools.

The fight over standardized testing has become a distraction from the discussion that Americans need to have: the importance of a real education and our societal responsibility to provide it to all.

Sorry, but the issue is just that simple. Americans do not understand what education is and how it needs to be done.



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“You’re supposed to pick one right answer … There’s never going to be one right way to solve a problem, so why should there be one right answer?”

There are some good arguments against standardized testing in the way it is administered - but the above remark is not one of them. A lot of opposition to standardized testing come from this insidious postmodernist opposition to all testing.

We may be able to debate complex issues of politics and policy, but if the topic is science, mathematics, and use of language, there IS only one right answer to the problems. 2*5=10 not 15; F=ma not m/a and one cannot write a paragraph that is understandable by others using whatever rules one likes.

Visiting Europeans, and Japanese, and even Indians and Chinese are appalled at the low standards of mathematical, scientific, and language composition competence of USAns. Only higher standards will fix this, and maintaining standards requires testing.


95% of new businesses fail…yet our legislators are enamored of the “business model” as the panacea to fix what’s “wrong” with American schools. How do they know what’s “wrong”? By comparing test scores with other countries like Japan and Germany. How do Japan and Germany test? By the time students have arrived in high school, they have been winnowed out. Those who show little aptitude for academic work are usually shunted into vo-tech and trade programs by the eigth grade. So the test scores of these countries reflect the abilities of a small percentage of teenagers…sometimes as little as 10%. Meanwhile…back in the good old USA…ALL students are tested and their grades averaged together. This includes those without academic talent and those with reduced mental capacity. The resulting comparison is totally skewed. The corporate shills who inhabit congress then start screaming we are falling behind. Suddenly hundreds of millions of dollars of needed funds (already not enough) are siphoned into the pockets of testing companies, further burdening underfunded school districts. When the schools crash and burn as their resources are drained off , the shills tell us the schools are “broken” (despite the fact they are the ones who broke them) and need to be privatized in order to be saved by the holy business model. Once a business is firmly latched on to the govt. teat, they no longer have to fear real competition and the fact 95% of them fail. They then show their gratitude with massive infusions of money into the political process, ensuring their contracts are always renewed without scrutiny and their bought and paid for politicians stay in office. It’s a win-win. And my fellow citizens are too busy trying to cover the bills with multiple jobs to see it happening.


“Our current test-driven school culture simply doesn’t allow for this type of trust and collaboration. Instead, test-driven accountability, competition, and sanctions endlessly force teachers and schools to implement measures they don’t believe in.”

Using the War on Drugs as a ruse for building up a prison-industrial system, judges were supplied with rigid sentencing guidelines. Like Standardized tests (as enforced upon education venues), these sentencing guidelines essentially anesthetized judges’ experiences in making informed judgment calls. In lieu of professional opinion, itself apt to reflect a range of interpretations, in its place one size fits all strict protocols have been instituted.

This is a pattern. At its core (and the rationale behind its metrics) is authoritarian top-down control.

Who is calling the shots, setting themselves up as those authority figures worthy of not just setting standards but also worth of being emulated… just so happen to be those persons who pollute the commons without shreds of remorse, those persons who fund, plan, and design weapons for wars, those who codify torture so as to include it in official playbooks, those who turn a deaf ear to the rape culture, to cops shooting down unarmed Black citizens as redundant habit, and to state of the unfortunate refugee children whose lives became collateral damage due to NAFTA.

For these sociopaths to use their muscle to tell the rest of us how to live, learn, love and earn our livelihoods is like putting serial killers at the head of the class (and all schools of learning).

Just Say No!

It’s great that parents are finally opting out.

Screw this and the Bill Gates machine that’s turning children’s minds, human bodies, and the entire living plant world into hybridized machines.


“During the Reagan Revolution, the country amped up its tendency to see most everything through the lens of the business model.”

This statement is like the one that says that “The middle class hates the poor,” or that our nation is in the state it’s in due to voters.

Persons who traffic in FRAMES of this nature strike me not as ignorant, but rather as those tasked with repeating messaging that insists that The People are in charge when all indications point to an increasingly fascist–which means corporations control the agenda via their paid for “partnership” with government-state.

The country did not AMP up the business model. Reagan pushed an anti-government mantra that gave Big Business the chance to gain more direct control over mass media, natural resources, and many functions that formerly belonged TO government. These days, prisons have become privatized, schools are being effectively privatized through the money lost on charter schools, and even soldiers in war are the function of private mercenary cartels.

To understand this usurpation of Public Power by special interests = corporations = the 1%, is NOT to use frames that turn the Truth around.

If you understood the degree to which Big Money has bought into academe so that science departments answer to moguls like Monsanto or energy corps like Exxon; and how much it’s bought out (and thus off) media; and how it controls candidates, their exposure to the public, and in most cases, who wins elections… then statements with this level of misinformation could not BE uttered.

The fact that these types of FRAMES remain favored by those with no orthodox daytime jobs, and that these individuals stay fixed on this form of messaging tells me that someone is paying them to deceive.

I will continue to call this type of propaganda out.


Your use of “the passive voice” is a means of leaving out the PARTY that set this protocol into motion.

It reads like “the arm came around ___________ body, and the gun went off.”

In other words, it deliberately leaves out subject-perpetrator to instead leave the FALSE impression that choices were made by citizens/the public to set matters on their particular pro-corporate course.

THAT is not true.

These types of policies are THE DIRECT RESULT of lobbyists who serve their high paying clients’ wishes.

In an atmosphere begun by Reagan, that fully supported deregulation, private industries began by stealth to take over previously government run–and thus accountable TO THE PUBLIC–institutions.

Does the public want the Post Office to be tainted as bankrupt because some Koch Brothers’ funded think tank figured out a way to mickey mouse orthodox accounting to make it APPEAR that way?

Do wars really take place for National Security or are they the means through which Weapons contractors grow fiscally fat and the MIC maintains its raison d’etre?

Similarly, does anyone with half a brain think that standardized tests (forced on schools) represent Big Business’ wish to better educate? No. It’s about money making for computer firms and standard test firms, and ultimate control of curricula by MAD MEN (and a few of their sold out female cohorts).


Some merit to this post until it falls back into the kneejerk pabulum, another one size fits all, CONCLUSION about Americans.

Do people here practice being a–holes or does it just come naturally? OR are they merely following scripted talking points devised by other a–holes?


Hardly post-modernistic opposition to ALL testing to recognize that there always are alternative answers and approaches to most questions. The only possible exception might be math. But how could an authoritarian such as yourself “get that”?

You’re pushing a rigid argument here as black white as the one the NRA gun nuts posit when decent people want to see some restrictions on the TYPES of guns sold and background checks on nut-jobs who buy them.

This SENSIBLE and sane initiative is FALSELY FRAMED as: “Liberals want to take ALL our guns away.”

A huge factor in today’s broken world are minds that CAN only see A or B, this or that, good or bad, me or you. These are divisive, overly simplistic frames better suited to Neanderthals.


“And my fellow citizens are too busy trying to cover the bills with multiple jobs to see it happening.”

Here again, a poster offers an accurate diagnosis on the type of graft that runs today’s political process and the policies generated from it. But to remain in conformance with the forum chorus, he must insist that it’s the public’s fault. The implication being, if only people knew! Then they’d fix it.

This mentality either misses how power operates or pretends that power is not the fundamental crux of much that is now utterly corrupted.

People know about the banks’ bailout. That didn’t change what elites elected to do.

It’s EASIER when the public is kept in the dark as is NOW the case regarding TPP… but either way, “The Casino/House” always wins. And as George Carlin would likely say if he were alive today, “YOU just picked up their bad bets, chump. And you’re gonna have to do it again.”

Think YOU decided on THAT, do you?

I also notice that deploying the “citizens are too busy trying to cover their bills” is a direct insertion of my counter-argument to this forum’s paid messengers’ relentless efforts to lay the blame for corporate graft, corruption, malfeasance, secreted backroom deals, bribes, and other payoffs… onto the voters/citizens/taxpayers, and/or all Americans.

I don’t buy this idea that most people who post here ALL happen to see things in this particular manner.

It’s scripted.

Who benefits from such a script? Those who profit from all that they work so insidiously to own, control, sabotage, or dominate.

This form of Message Control is a lot like the rapist who tries to convince the victim that she wants it.


You really need to get laid.



Not only is that sexist, it’s a crude attempt to deflect the incisive insights I raised and will continue to raise.

It takes a male chimp to “conclude” that a poster who can read through PR talking points and/or propaganda repeated in order to create consensus on opinion pages like this one suffers from a “need to get laid.”

Only a sexist pig would equate a female poster’s supposed sex life with her capacity to outwit him in any debate.

You clowns all sound alike. At least I think for myself.


Incisive insights? Calling other posters an asshole is incisive?

You came onto this thread with a chip on your shoulder the size of a yule log. I’m sorry that you’re so damned unhappy but your state of mind is your problem.

As for outwitting folks, I’ve yet to see you do so with me or anyone else on any thread ever.

Personally, I think that I gave you some very good advice.


ADDED: And by the way, just how is that advice sexist? I’ve given it to my male friends many times and I’ve heard women say the same thing.


At issue isn’t the testing or the standards its how they are being used as weapons to destroy our public food. What Monsanto has done to our food, what deregulation has done to our banks, what Walmart has done to mom and pop grocery stores… this too big to fail corporate mentality has come to our public schools. We are being marketed to with propaganda like the slogan “college and career ready” and “rigorous curriculum”… Essentially what has happened is we are told that there is a problem with our schools when there isn’t one, starting with Reagan’s report “A Nation at Risk” then the solution is a unified set of standards, which just so happen to match with a unified set of online and book curricula and a matching set of exams… which are too hard to pass b/c they are made to be too hard to pass. Then you can close down the schools and/or fire teachers thanks to George Bush’s No Child Left Behind when students can’t pass them… This system has been funded largely by the Gates Foundation, which also funds the expansion of the charter school movement. They are out to destroy our schools. $750 billion in funds and the banks want that too. I am a teacher. I did 10 months of research and co-wrote a book and a website. The real problem is poverty and a lack of jobs. weaponsofmassdeception(dot)org.


It’s not just the corporate tyranny: The sheer volume of testing and the continual assertion that American schools are failing are causing trauma to millions of schoolchildren each day. The landmark report, A Nation of Risk, came out in 1983 when Reagan was president. Millions of students had to endure going to school then each day after being told by their own government that their school was a failure and hence they were subjected to a substandard education. Anyone who was in school then was a victim who had little power to change the situation.

I was a freshman in high school then, but the curriculum had changed little since my parents or earlier generations had been attending school. Though we were already in the midst of great technological, social, and cultural transformations then, there was little reflected in the school curriculum. Also, we were still in the grips of American exceptionalism and the naive belief that factories and the industrial way of life would continue for the foreseeable future – despite the fact that shopping malls and retail were starting to replace the local factory and women were going to work in droves.

Now, what do we see? Where is the vision?


American schools have failed to properly educate the majority of students passing through them. Consider the intelligence of the average American, their critical abilities, their habits of watching Fox News, willingly mistaking misinformation for information, their ignorance of America’s role in the world, both good and especially important, bad. Why have our schools have not fostered critical thinking, exploration, personal courage and curiosity? It’s evident everywhere–and worldwide opinion regards Americans as among the least aware citizens of the world.

You can’t blame testing for that. The testing is a last ditch response to the charade that all teachers are well qualified, that all administrators are instructional experts. I find it interesting that teachers are aligned with the tea party on this topic; I do know that excellent teachers are mad as hell about the state of public schools and about the expertise of colleagues. I also find it subversive that teachers such as yourself have rallied students and parents against standards such as the common core–they follow your lead, and like dumb tea partiers, march and vote against their own interests because of your self-serving leadership.

Teachers no longer define what schools can or shall be. That opportunity has long since passed, due to union protectionism, the full spectra of mis or mal-practice, union failure to police its own ranks. Teaching is the easiest profession to get into, and its standards for performance are rarely understood by administrators and unevenly measured and enforced.


This is the second time you have accused me of being part of a “script.” I don’t know where you live, but I live in Oklahoma in the buckle of the bible belt. I speak of what I see around me. When I ask my Native American friends how they vote, they reply, “oh, I don’t do that. That’s the white man’s thing.” When I ask otherwise decent and caring people how they will vote they say Republican because they’re conservative and my friends are all for conservation. If the deck is already stacked and it doesn’t matter how people vote, then why is there a 24/7 continuous stream of lies on Fox news to influence these worthless votes? I see it streaming in dentist office waiting rooms, hospital emergency rooms and even in the common area at the high school. The rich love their money and wouldn’t spend a dime they didn’t think they had to, but they’re spending millions to bend the minds of the masses. “No Child Left Behind” has now produced a generation who think Auschwitz comes in six-packs. This is not my script. I work at a university and interact with students evey day. When I explained the causes of the Vietnam war to one, he was dumbfounded and wanted to know why this wasn’t being taught in history class. If it doesn’t matter what the voters think then why is there all this effort to influence them? I am aware of the business/govt. conspiracy to warp education. As I said I work at a university. My wife is a biologist. My post only deals with one facet of what is going on but I don’t have the space to write a book, so for the sake of clarity, I must deal with one subject at a time. I agree with much of what you say but any truely detailed analysis of the subject at hand would take volumes. I am not speaking from a script. I will not accuse you of doing so and would appreciated it if you would not as well.