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This Article May Be Illegal: Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing


This Article May Be Illegal: Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing

Steven Singer


What you are about to read may be a criminal act.

I may have broken the law by putting this information out there.

Edward Snowden leaked data about civilian surveillance. Chelsea Manning released top secret military documents.

And me? I’m leaking legal threats and intimidation students and teachers are subject to during standardized testing.

Not exactly a federal crime is it?

No. I’m asking. Is it?


While the author makes some legitimate points about the need for more transparency around standardized testing, his entire discussion falls short of the real issue. The standardized testing regimens currently being used are useless and counterproductive for educational purposes and need to be scrapped entirely.

It has been quite clear for some time that the only people served by these programs are the companies profiting from their overuse.The purpose of the testing is to close as many public schools as possible, children and communities be damned.

Mr. Singer also makes a couple of unfortunate comments.

Ask those teachers in Atlanta who were convicted of cheating. Obviously they did more than just talk about the test and they deserve to be punished.

No, they don’t.

Discussing the appropriateness of specific test questions does not make me Julian Assange.

Don’t flatter yourself.



So this guy is getting all indignant over reasonable measures to prevent cheating on tests - likening it to government-sponsored murder and mayhem?

I never got all this fuss over standardized testing. If teachers are indeed teaching to the test, that is a problem with the schools or teachers, not the test. Any student getting a good education should be able to do well on the test. Standards of US education are appallingly poor compared to Europe, Japan, or even China but standardized testing is not the cause of the problem.


If you follow the money, you realize that there is a whole bunch of money to be made here. From creating text books that cater only to the exams, and corporate tutorial classes for laggards who cannot fair well in classroom tests. Creating and selling the exam itself is millions of dollars.

Who owns the biggest money maker in both categories?
Jeb Bush and his ilk.


Oh wow. Please go spend some time in a classroom and public school testing zone to see if those statements still hold up. The tests are obscenely stupid and counterproductive, the students stop taking them seriously after awhile, and they do not reflect real learning but some rote memorization of factoids. They were created to force American education into a rigid, standardized , technology-based model that serves economic competitiveness.


In Europe, Japan and China, students are subjected to a weeding-out process. By the time they reach high school, a large percentage of students have been diverted to other venues like vocational instruction or apprenticeship. They are also assigned jobs based on test outcomes, whatever their preference might be. So only the best students in high school take these standardized tests. In the US, ALL students take the test (handicapped, brain damaged, etc.) and the results are compared with the cream of the other countries. Thus a false problem is created which corporations then use as political leverage to create “charter” schools where teachers are paid less and students do no better. Meanwhile, public funds are siphoned off from where they are most needed to private testing and charter corporations and like privatized prisons, our children’s education becomes a corporate bottom line with the usual cost-cutting incentives… 95% of businesses fail. But corporations have discovered if they get their income from the public purse, that is no longer a problem. If it were merely a question of passing a test there would be no problem but this is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on at length about the horrors of standardized testing but space does not permit. Talk to a teacher sometime and see what they have to say about it.


A silly, unfortunate rant that puts the maturity of teachers in a less than positive light. As someone commented already, testing performances and knowledge are not the problem; the problem is that our schools have not done well by all students for decades now, and it is amazing to see the variety of scapegoats teachers come up with in order to ensure business as usual–i.e. weak accountability for the degree to which they have moved each student a little further up the ladder toward accomplishment. As someone else has commented, teaching to the test is not what is required–teaching the ability to read, compute and think are what is required. These are the things that have been missing for some time, and teacher resistance to change has led to this state of affairs.


Wow. A testing troll.

If standardized testing as currently administered actually provided an accurate measurement of what students are learning then you might have a point.

It doesn’t and you don’t.



Yunzer, there’s more to the story than whether anyone is teaching to the test. Personally, I resent that some profit driven company that probably isn’t even an American company (I’m thinking of Pearson here) can come in and decide what our students should be learning. Then, let’s add insult to injury, many teachers are evaluated on how their students did on these tests, if your students did poorly on this test, well, it’s going to show up on your paycheck somewhere down the line.

Then, I resent these tests for one more reason. When my son’s safety was at risk in a public school (gang violence), he didn’t want to go back to a private school, didn’t want to go to another public school, he wanted to be home-schooled. I was working more than 40 hours a week, but this was what my son wanted more than anything, so we went for it - grades 7 - 12. When I had to take time out of an insanely busy schedule to take my son somewhere to take standardized tests, I wasn’t happy about it. I took responsibility for my son’s education when I disenrolled him. Why does the government need to see test results on him? I felt like they were intruding where they didn’t need to be.

My son is over 30, and still says disenrolling him and “unschooling” him is one of the best things I ever did for him. Yeah, he did fantastic on their tests, even though I had no clue how to “teach to the test”. But, some kids don’t do well…and punishing a teacher that really is trying to teach isn’t the answer.


I’m sorry but this is BS. You speak of what you do not know. How much time do you spend in public schools? Most of what you have posted is propaganda created by corporations to further their agenda to take over public education. I would refer you to my answer to Yunzer above. You have no idea. Please show me where a fair and unbiased study shows what you have said to be true. This is what they say on Fox News.


Testing is good business

Divest your son (and/or daughter)


Yunzer, at this point in history research suggests that these tests have measured the wrong subject. In actuality they may have become a metric for poverty in America.
Greedy privatizers use mythology and fear of falling behind in the grey matter war to foist these worthless multi-billion dollar teaching/learning/testing materials on our children.
Be well.


The public school system cannot be reformed. The fastest solution would be vouchers just as most of Europe uses. If the public system costs $10,000 per student per year and the voucher was for $5,000 then there would be $5,000 more for the government system every time a child switched to vouchers. Taxpayers would save property taxes: fewer government teachers, buildings, books, utilities, maintenance, etc. The parents and children would have real choices and the kids would get a better education. The big losers would be the ministry of educational propaganda and the teachers unions.