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Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to 'We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts'


#1

Resistance to High Stakes Tests Serves the Cause of Equity in Education: A Reply to 'We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts'

Jesse Hagopian

Twelve national civil rights organizations released a statement today in opposition to parents and students who opt out of high-stakes standardized testing–what has now become a truly mass direct action campaign against the multi-billion dollar testing industry. I believe that their statement titled, “We Oppose Anti-Testing Efforts,” misses the key role that standardized testing has played throughout American history in reproducing institutional racism and inequality. I wrote the below statement, with the aid of


#2

Thanks for your thoughtful article. As an educational researcher and teacher educator in Cleveland, one of America's very poorest major cities, I've spent the last decade studying and then trying to de-bunk the many myths behind the test-based accountability movement.

It's no exaggeration to say that test-based accountability is the biggest obstacle to quality education for poor children and for children of color. It's important to note that the one-size-fits-all and punitive aspects of the accountability movement have done the most harm in schools for children living in poverty. Over and over again I hear from teachers that they can't do what is right for children because of the tests, and over and over again I hear from teachers and students that school IS prison--that's the phrase that keeps popping up.

Test-based accountability is merely the extension to education of the same mechanistic factory approach that also brought us factory farming--all of the main ideas of the policies conflict with what we know about how children develop and learn best. All of the high-stakes tests could disappear tomorrow, and education would get better.


#3

Defund the profit-based testing enterprises. Take the bloat out of school administration. Apply these savings back to the teachers in the form of better salaries/benefits. That is how to begin to get back on track. Oh, and solving a whole slew of social issues wouldn't hurt, either.


#4

Hagopian bites his tongue, but I think he realizes this has nothing to do with a "respectful disagreement".

These black elite organizations do the bidding of the administration, which sees its "reformist" education policy seriously threatened by this grassroots uprising, and has enlisted their cachet as a means to thwart it.


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