Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let Them Eat Tests


Let Them Eat Tests

by Jason Stanford/ July 11, 2012

We celebrate report cards in my family by letting the boys pick dinner. My oldest always wants steak. My youngest likes beige food—pasta, mac & cheese, and potatoes. When he finished the 3rd grade this year, he chose KFC (beige again) for getting all A’s except for two B’s. I asked him what he learned this year, and he mentioned a lesson about the double helix and that squids have three hearts.
Mike Keefe / PoliticalCartoons.com (click to view more cartoons by Keefe)

Then he said this: “I learned strategies. How to focus and… I forget the other one. Oh yeah, practicing doing tests.” He’s talking about the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness that Texas began administering this year in the hopes that testing our children will make them smarter. Texas is paying Pearson Education $470 million over five years for STAAR test, but since Texas also cut $5.4 billion from the public school budget, the state decided the tests shouldn’t actually count towards anything.

Meanwhile, Sandy Kress sends his children to private schools in Austin where, like at 90% of Texas private schools, they don’t take the state’s standardized tests. Where his children go to school doesn’t matter, except that Kress was the “key architect” of “No Child Left Behind” and now is the lead lobbyist for Pearson.

While Kress’ kids get a first-class secondary education, his tests have incited an open revolt over the test-first, test-later culture. So far, 520 Texas school boards representing millions of schoolchildren have passed a resolution opposing over-testing. Even the Lufkin Chamber of Commerce has joined the revolution against the let-them-eat-tests oligarchy. Now the Texas protest has gone viral. A national resolution has thousands of signatories, and parents are protesting Pearson’s headquarters in New York.

Newt Gingrich won back Congress with his Contract With America by fighting this kind of out-of-touch elitism. The Contract’s first principle was that “all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress.” Nothing came of it, but this bullet point hit the bull’s eye with focus groups because of the House banking scandal, Speaker Jim Wright’s book sales to lobbyists, and Dan Rostenkowski’s corruption charges. There was the sense that Congress was not living by the same rules the rest of us did.

Some of that unfairness applies here. Americans rightfully loathe living by rules that don’t apply to those who make the rules. We don’t like that George W. Bush and other fortunate sons got into National Guard while working-class sons died in Vietnam. We can’t ignore the basic unfairness of Wall Street executives paying themselves bonuses with our bailout money while millions of others can’t find jobs. And it does not warm my heart to know that part of my school taxes are paying for Sandy Kress to send his kids to private school where they don’t have to take his tests that my kids do.

This won’t change soon. Rick Perry regularly appoints Kress to advisory boards and allows him to testify before the legislature as if he’s only representing a state board and not his testing company lobbying client. I am Kress fallen that Sandy is making money off my children while protecting his own from the STAAR test, but it’s only offensive, not illegal. His transgression is a moral one, akin to selling sugary soda to kids while forbidding his own from rotting their teeth out. He has a classic conflict of interest between his kids and mine.

All this began with such good intentions, to end social promotion by not leaving any child behind in a failing school. But Kress has led us to hell by insisting that testing our children will make them smarter. Of course it doesn’t work that way any more than marking off their growth against a wall makes them taller. That’s why Kress sends his kids to a private school with our money while our kids forgo a real education so they can take his tests.

If Kress really believed that his tests made schools better, he’d send his own kids there. And if he knows better, he’d stop selling Texas tests that we can’t afford and that school districts increasingly don’t want.
—–
© Copyright 2012 Jason Stanford, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Jason Stanford is a Democratic consultant who has helped elect or re-elect more than two dozen Members of Congress. He lives in Austin, Texas. You can reach him at stanford@oppresearch.com or follow him on Twitter @jasstanford.

16 comments:

  1. sandy kress3:18 PM

    A decade before I had any relationship with Pearson or any company I helped push Texas' first accountability system, including the use of annual standardized tests. The legislature approved that system, in part, because the ever-increasing inflation of grades made grades unreliable as a sole measure of student achievement. Plus, districts felt little pressure to be accountable to the state and its taxpayers to improve student achievement and close achievement gaps. The late 80s and early 90s saw stagnation in student achievement and an increasing droput rate. All this had to change.

    Since 1995, Texas has seen its NAEP scores rise faster than almost all other states, and its graduation rate has gone up 9 points from 66% to 75% (the Average Freshman Graduation Rates cited in federal statistics).

    Yet, the state has seen little improvement in its high schools and its success at getting students to postsecondary readiness. This is why the legislature passed HB3 over 3 years ago. Now, with end-of-course exams in high school (which ALL interest groups clamored for to reduce teaching to the test), the hope is that teaching in Texas' high schools would become more aligned to Texas' standards and that these measures would be more honest and transparent as to the real condition of our students with respect to their postsecondary readiness.

    Fewer than 30% of our students graduate ready for postsecondary education of any kind without need of remediation. Yet, the grade inflation has only grown. 82% of grades given out in our high schools are As and Bs.

    It does our children no good to have these false reads. And it does them no good to have teaching out of sync with our standards. Yet, some want to "shoot the messenger" when it comes to the tests. Let's consider the recent poor results that have been reported on writing. Are we sure the results are wrong? Or might they validate the college teachers and employers who say in unison that most of our high school students are not taught how to write well?

    End-of-course exams should function as finals, and indeed, if they were finals, we could have an actual reduction in testing. We also might find that teaching in high school would become more faithful to state standards and that our students earn diplomas that mean more than they currently do.

    Now, as to this false and malicious charge that I want tests for others' children that I would never have for my own:

    Our son is a rising senior who wouldn't take the STAAR exams wherever he went to school. He's in the only school in Austin where he was assured four years of an advanced curriculum in Latin and a possible opportunity for some Greek in his senior year, which are his passions. As to tests, I wish his school had finals more like STAAR, but that's another matter.

    As for our daughter, we'd prefer a public high school with the Texas standards and the STAAR exams for her. Her preference was either one of two schools in our district or the virtual charter school run by the HISD. Because of policies that make no sense to us she is not eligible for any of these three schools. So, we have tough decisions to make in her case.

    We can talk about the specific political and bureaucratic practices that led, and continue to lead, our children away from the public schools available to us after elementary school. But, among all "the sugary soda" we could find on that list, the standards and the tests are NOT among them.

    If you don't like HB3, fine. If you want to debate me on it, fine. You can even keep up the ad hominem attacks on me and Pearson. But keep away from spreading lies about why my wife and I make the decisions we make for our children.


    Sandy Kress

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    1. Anonymous11:26 PM

      Mr. Kress, you note that since 1995 Texas' NAEP scores rose more quickly than most other states'. But, let's take a look at NAEP gains during much of the time you've been lobbying for Pearson. Since the 2004-5 academic year, with the exception of 8th grade math (where the trend mirrors national data, but scores are slightly higher), NAEP trends for Texas are largely flat and student performance is at or below national averages for 4th and 8th grade. Federal data show this, per the link below.*

      Therefore, your promotion of tests in Texas and the costs of those tests throughout most of your Pearson lobbying career have produced far greater gains for yourself than they have for Texas schoolchildren.

      *http://www.eddataexpress.ed.gov/state-report.cfm/state/TX/.

      Mindy Kornhaber

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  2. I propose giving Sandy Kress a reading comprehension test. After all, he’s given my kids and millions of others that sad excuse for pedagogy for years now. And this will be easy. I won’t charge him hundreds of millions of dollars to write the test. I won’t make him hire a consultant to teach him to take the test using the “chunking” method, or a way to pass a reading comprehension test without really reading comprehensively. This lesson, like so few in your world, is free: Find in Let Them Eat Tests where I made the “false and malicious charge” that his motive in moving his kids out of traditional public schools was so they could avoid taking Pearson’s standardized tests. And as a bonus, unlike the STAAR test this isn’t timed. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    Sandy Kress is a smart man and surely knows the important distinctions between inferring and implying. Kress inferred that I was commenting on why he and his wife made the education choices they did for their two children. I implied nothing of the sort. In fact, I apologize for the unintended offense. What the Kress family does for its children is its business, and I salute Kress on being an obviously considerate and attentive father who cares for his children’s educational opportunities.

    I’m just mad my taxes are helping pay for their opportunities while my kids have to take Pearson’s tests that Kress sold. You see, this isn’t about what I am saying about Kress’ children. This is about what Kress and Pearson are doing to my sons and the millions of other Texas schoolchildren whose classroom experiences have been corrupted to serve the false idol of high-stakes standardized testing.

    Moreover, I do not begrudge the freedoms Kress gives his children to make the best educational choices for themselves. I think it’s great that Kress’ son gets to take four years of Latin and maybe a year of Greek. If Texas schoolchildren weren’t taking time out of art class to drill for Pearson’s standardized tests, they might have the same opportunities. And if taxpayers weren’t paying Pearson $470 million during a time of unprecedented and crippling budget cuts, we’d even be able to afford them!

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  3. Sandy Kress1:30 AM

    Stanford is asking where he makes the false charge I don't send my kids to public schools so they can avoid the standardized tests.

    Let's consider: "If Kress really believed that the tests made schools better, he'd send his own kids there." Or, when he likens our family's school decisions to "forbidding" my own children "from rotting their teeth out."

    Stanford now associates me with the practice of pulling children out of art class to drill for an end of year test. That's yet another false charge!

    I totally oppose any such practice. Indeed, the local school boards ought to ban the practice and, more, they ought to ban all generalized benchmark testing. The state tests ought simply be a two hour exercise for which virtually all preparation should be effective teaching to state standards.

    I can hear the cry already: "they" set such high stakes for the test, "they" have "made us" do these stupid things. No! Nonsense! The tests should have consequences. But drill and kill is no solution. Good teaching to the standards is the only solution that works, and I refuse to be identified with the crap that is done instead.

    Stanford is right: we shouldn't make an idol of these tests, any more than the test to get a driver's license or the test to enter the military or the SAT or the test to get a license to practice law or any of the dozens of tests my children and Stanford's children will have to take in their lives.

    But for over 20 years, more than half of which I represented no one but myself, I have believed that the state and its taxpayers have a right and a duty to know objectively whether students are learning to its standards in return for the funds they spend on education. I believed this long before I represented Pearson, and I suspect I'll believe it long after I represent Pearson. So, do me the favor of arguing with me on the merits and not based on yet another false charge that this is my view only because I now do work for Pearson.

    While you're hurling charges my way, have you ever considered that I work for Pearson because they do work that fits with views I've held my whole career? Well - like my views or not - that's a whole lot closer to the truth if the truth interests you.

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    1. Mr. Kress, you said that, "End-of-course exams should function as finals, and indeed, if they were finals, we could have an actual reduction in testing." Great point, and wasn't that the original intent of the End of Course (EOC) exam? Correct me if I am wrong, but EOCs were basically going to serve as a vehicle to test a student's knowledge on the 4X4 curriculum. But as HB 3 was moving through the legislative process, the "Testing Advocates" convinced superintendents that there needed to be more "measures" to truly gauge a student's content knowledge, and more systematic appraisal (15% rule, minimum average, passing average, etc.) to get a "grade" for the students' EOCs. If you truly believe that “EOCs should function as finals,” then why weren’t you more adept at convincing legislators to keep the initial intent of the EOCs in HB 3? You can blame the legislature for passing HB 3 with all the complicated formulas to assess a grade, but in actuality this mess could have been avoided if you and the rest of the “Testing Advocates” would have pressed for simplicity in EOCs: to function as final exams.

      Now, the education community is pushing for slight changes to the accountability system, more likely a repeal of the 15% rule and other difficulties associated with STAAR and EOCs. Bill Hammond with the Texas Association of Business has already attacked the education community by saying that they are trying to “water-down” accountability and that public schools should not get additional funds from the state. I'm curious to know one simple fact: why are you and Bill Hammond visiting big city chambers of commerce to "tow the line" on accountability? It seems that on one hand you believe, “End-of-course exams should function as finals,” but on the other hand you’re trying to convince business leaders that we shouldn’t make ANY changes to the accountability system. Something’s gotta give Mr. Kress; either we make changes to the accountability system to reduce the plethora of tests and benchmarks and focus on helping students succeed, or we remain with the status quo and watch our students continue to be less ready for college and less ready for the workforce.

      Delete
    2. "Stanford is asking where he makes the false charge I don’t send my kids to public schools so they can avoid the standardized tests.

      "Let’s consider: 'If Kress really believed that the tests made schools better, he’d send his own kids there.' Or, when he likens our family’s school decisions to 'forbidding' my own children 'from rotting their teeth out.'”

      This is a case of Sandy Kress inferring what I am not stating, though given his understandable defensiveness about discussing family business in a political context I can sympathize with his reaction. I did not state that the purpose of him taking his kids out of the regular public-school system was to avoid them having to take the Pearson tests he sold to our school system, but this is an inevitable consequence. And if Kress believed that taking these tests provided a superior education, then it would be logical to put his children in public school. But it does not follow that the only reason to take his kids out of school is to avoid Pearson’s tests. Why Kress took his kids out of public school his his business, and I wish his family well.

      I will grant his point about my “sugary soda” metaphor. A disinterested bystander could easily draw the wrong inference from my attempt to express the hypocrisy of this whole mess. It would be accurate to say that Kress, through his lobbying for No Child Left Behind and for Pearson, has required my children to drink sugary soda. But it would not be accurate to give the impression that he has forbidden his own children from drinking sugary soda. I regret the miscommunication.

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    3. "Stanford now associates me with the practice of pulling children out of art class to drill for an end of year test. That’s yet another false charge!

      "I totally oppose any such practice. Indeed, the local school boards ought to ban the practice and, more, they ought to ban all generalized benchmark testing. The state tests ought simply be a two hour exercise for which virtually all preparation should be effective teaching to state standards."

      Yes, I do, though I will grant that this is an unintended, if inevitable, consequence of judging our educational system by one test score. Dr. Linda McNeil of Rice University called this “Enron-style accountability” because the now-bankrupt company also judged itself by one measure: its stock price. Nothing else mattered, not debt, not cash on hand, not whether anything they did had any basis in logic. Consequently, Enron rigged its own system to boost its stock price at the expense of the company’s health, much in the same way schools teach test-taking skills at the expense of actually educating children.

      But we agree on two things already here: We both oppose pulling kids out of Class A to drill for a test on Subject B, and we both oppose the misuse of what you call generalized benchmark testing. So we’re making progress, though I wager we would be making more progress if Pearson weren’t making money they way things are.

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    4. "I can hear the cry already: 'they' set such high stakes for the test, 'they' have 'made us' do these stupid things. No! Nonsense! The tests should have consequences. But drill and kill is no solution. Good teaching to the standards is the only solution that works, and I refuse to be identified with the crap that is done instead.

      "Stanford is right: we shouldn’t make an idol of these tests, any more than the test to get a driver’s license or the test to enter the military or the SAT or the test to get a license to practice law or any of the dozens of tests my children and Stanford’s children will have to take in their lives."

      He had me at “Stanford is right”. And I don’t think Kress intended to create the false ideology of high-stakes standardized testing that has corrupted Texas classrooms any more than Dr. Frankenstein wanted his monster to terrorize the village or Dr. Oppenheimer wanted to kill Japanese civilians. But teaching to the test is the direct and inevitable consequence of attaching high-stakes to standardized testing.

      Tests, like elections, should have consequences. I’ve always thought that a consequence of a diagnostic test would be to teach the student what he or she doesn’t know, and maybe Kress agrees with me. But that begs the question: Why won’t I, my children, or their teachers ever see the graded tests so they can learn from their mistakes? They’ll get scores, but no constructive feedback.

      High-stakes do not improve a faulty theory or a bad test. (Kudos to Kress, by the way, on Pearson using the pineapple question in other states. Taxpayers all over the country are paying for the same test problem that was so laughable Pearson didn’t bother to score the answers.) If college readiness is important, then why don’t we require college-bound Texas public school students to take the ACT or the SAT, two tests colleges consider valid? Taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay to write it, and we could judge our progress against students in other states. One problem I can anticipate is that Pearson would lose money. Pity.

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    5. "But for over 20 years, more than half of which I represented no one but myself, I have believed that the state and its taxpayers have a right and a duty to know objectively whether students are learning to its standards in return for the funds they spend on education. I believed this long before I represented Pearson, and I suspect I’ll believe it long after I represent Pearson. So, do me the favor of arguing with me on the merits and not based on yet another false charge that this is my view only because I now do work for Pearson.

      "While you’re hurling charges my way, have you ever considered that I work for Pearson because they do work that fits with views I’ve held my whole career? Well – like my views or not – that’s a whole lot closer to the truth if the truth interests you."

      I do not and have never argued that Kress is only pushing standardized testing on public schoolchildren because it’s his job. In no way whatsoever have I written what he is accusing me of. If Kress got that impression, I apologize. I know how it feels to think someone is falsely accusing you of something.

      I fully grant his longstanding public service in this vein and in fact agree with his goals. Students deserve a real education and not a pro-forma diploma. But what we’re doing is not working. Kress cannot sincerely condemn the corrupted classroom instruction and misuse of diagnostic tools without considering that these are the inevitable consequences of what he has done for the last 20 years.

      Delete
  4. Jason and Anonymous have responded clearly to Sandy Kress' response to Jason's initial blog. The essential questions are whether the inundation of schools with high-stakes testing has improved or undermined the quality of education; whether high-stakes testing has been a necessary, preferable or 'best' way to try to improve schools by state and federal governments.

    To the first. In general, and the amount and stakes on testing have increased, score gains on independent tests (e.g., NAEP) have faltered. Thus, at the national level, NAEP score gains have flattened or stopped in both subjects, all grades, for almost every demographic group, since NCLB came into effect. (My organization, FairTest, has documented this [see http://fairtest.org/detailed-fairtest-study-naep-results-shows-nclb-ha], as have other researchers, esp Jaekyung Lee.) Indeed, many of the gaps by race, etc., have been recently widening. Anonymous, above, noted the Texas data. Note also that NAEP is still only a standardized test and only in reading and math, so a good deal of what students ought to learn in those subjects is not tested (same as with the various Texas tests), nor are other subjects.

    Meanwhile, there has been a good deal of collateral damage. Some of us predicted this when Kress and his allies were pushing for NCLB, as we already had seen that damage in states that emphasized high-stakes testing. Still, politicians in both parties, backed especially by business groups, pushed NCLB through Congress. Since then, report after report has shown that the curriculum has narrowed toward the tested subjects, while in the tested subjects instruction increasingly has become test prep. Kress is like many of the supporters of high-stakes testing: he says he is not responsible for these results, he does not like them, and teachers and principals should not do this and don't need to. I agree they should not, but a fish rots from the head, and the rot in this case is the mandated use of tests to judge students (fail the test and don't get promoted or graduate), schools (NCLB's sanctions) and now teachers (thanks esp to Race to the Top and waivers). BTW, the National Academy of Sciences concludes that graduation tests don't improve learning outcomes (e.g., college and job readiness) but do have damaging side effects (e.g., dropping out of school). Kress and his allies need to own up to the predicted consequences of their actions.

    Kress is correct that districts bear responsibility in part of the proliferation of benchmark tests that have arrived in the wake of state and federal high-stakes tests. Again, the fish rots from the head, but I hope that districts take firm steps to reduce testing even has they correctly demand that the state back off from its high-stakes testing mandates (e.g., via the resolution now signed by nearly 570 Texas school boards).

    Kress' claim that end of course tests in more subjects would reduce high-school testing is simply absurd and has been answered well by Jason.

    So, in sum, high-stakes testing has not succeeded in improving educational quality or outcomes, while is has damaged education overall as well as the life chances of many students.

    [I will respond to my question two in a separate entry.]

    Monty Neill
    Executive Director
    FairTest

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  5. The other question I posed is whether there was or is now a viable alternative to improving schools, as is certainly needed. This question requires an accurate analysis of the causes of inadequate schools, and then reasonable steps toward improvement. First, poverty is the primary problem, especially that low-income children with greater needs typically attend the schools with fewest resources - across the nation, in each state, and often in each district. Much of the problem is poverty for which schools can only offer limited help - housing, nutrition, medical care, community disorganization. Some schools strive to help, but far more is needed. Unfortunately, the emphasis on testing has helped deflect attention away from poverty and resources, in part through the 'no excuses' mantra. The Congressional deal that led to NCLB included a Bush Administration promise to significantly increase funding - which it supported only for one year, and then reneged on.

    Finland started from equity: the goal of providing every student with as equitable an opportunity as possible. The result of the press for equity was steadily increasing quality. Finland does have low child poverty rates, while the US is next to worst among 'advanced' nations, and Texas among our worst states. Finland also avoids standardized testing. The US is not Finland, but the Finland example shows that there are ways to improve schools that succeed, while the US has focused on the unsuccessful strategy of high-stakes testing. BTW, no other nation uses tests like the US does, to hold schools accountable, to test in most grades. In sum, the US could have done things differently, but chose not to, and Kress has been an architect of these fail policies.

    Texas, like all the other states, needs to back off from high-stakes testing and reduce the amount of testing it requires. It needs to take other steps toward building the capacity of schools to educate all children well. It should stop listening to the recommendations of Sandy Kress.

    Monty Neill
    Executive Director
    FairTest

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  6. I want to comment from a teacher's point of view to respond to Sandy Kress suggesting that high stakes test do not *require* schools or teachers to narrow their curriculum or resort to narrow test preparation. He is technically correct, but in the real world in which our children attend school, it does not work out that way.

    Here is what I saw in Oakland, California. The pressure to raise test scores hits the low income schools the hardest. The students at these schools are coming to school behind. They are facing hard times at homes and in their neighborhoods, and this affects their academic performance. But in the current "no excuses" environment, the jobs of principals and teachers depend on their students making substantial test score gains every year. This fear produces the behavior you see. Two years ago the school board in Oakland passed a resolution directing all elementary schools to teach at least 45 minutes of science every week. Why was this necessary? Because many of the low-income schools had expanded reading/language arts instruction to more than two hours a day, and math to at least ninety minutes, leaving no time for science, history, art or foreign language. The board's action encouraged schools to put science back in the schedule, but no such resolution was passed regarding history or art.

    It is too facile to walk away from the consequences high stakes testing has wrought. The entire project is an exercise in social engineering. How can we create such a system, and then pretend we are not responsible for how it plays out in the real world? It is entirely predictable that if you tell people that they will lose their jobs if the scores don't rise, they will seek every means to get them up.

    There is ample evidence that the social experiment that was NCLB has not yielded the results that were promised. Doubling down is not likely to fix these problems. It would be great to see the designers of these accountability programs hold themselves accountable for the results we are seeing, instead of once again, blaming teachers when things go awry.

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  7. So Sandy's daughter "attends" the virtual offering of Houston ISD. That would be Connections Academy. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to who OWNS Connections Academy? http://www.pearson.com/media-1/announcements/?i=1476

    Sandy, I couldn't care less where your kids go to school. At this point, I also couldn't care less what your opinions on high stakes testing are because they are biased by the fat check you get from Pearson.

    You say don't bring your family into our argument, but you are bringing our family into yours. And, sadly, you are affecting what happens with our kids. You need to face the reality that high stakes testing, whether you wanted it to or not, has gotten way out of control and monopolizes learning time. It has to change. You want to keep your ridiculous testing contract with TX, fine. Do what I've told you two other times when you sat on panels and didn't listen to input: move it to the beginning of the year so it can be utilized as a true diagnostic assessment instead of the high stakes piece it is today. In the meantime, I along with hundreds of thousands of other parents will be fighting tooth and nail come January. And, I think we have momentum on our side. We don't have the conveniently timed campaign contributions you have, but we have more votes than you do. Let's see what is worth more this time around.

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  8. Anonymous9:20 PM

    Sandy and friends hung a guillotine over educators' heads with their test-and-label system. Now he coyly says that educators shouldn't stress about the guillotine, shouldn't give benchmarks. Just teach, and on the day of the test you'll find out if they've learned.

    I guess we shouldn't scrimmage our football teams either. Sandy Kress is the father of Texas miseducation.

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  9. Elaine Hampton10:26 AM

    I was a science teacher and now I work with hundreds and hundreds of science teachers. The light has gone out of their eyes. They moan that their ability to teach good science is compromised, no slaughtered and slashed, by the testing. They long for May when they can "teach some good science lessons." Perhaps distance from the classroom experience and extreme political ideology blind the elites from seeing what is really happening.

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  10. Hey, question for Mr. Kress,
    Ok, so for whatever long convoluted reason you did not choose public school for your child. Fine.
    But if these Pearson test are so important and they are so good and so fair and truly needed to judge schools AND teachers.....
    Why don't the private schools use them?
    Don't the private schools need to know how good the teachers are? How much the students are learning?
    Don't the private schools need to be held accountable?

    Neither you nor Pres. Obama (daughters go to Sidwell Friends School...no high stakes testing driving the curriculum there either) nor anyone else I can find who has school age kids and pushed NCLB/ RTTT etc seems to prescribe endless, poor quality test for their children.
    Why is that?

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