Home > Uncategorized > The NEW Dominant Paradigm: Standardized Testing as the Be All and End All of Schooling

The NEW Dominant Paradigm: Standardized Testing as the Be All and End All of Schooling

November 16, 2015

Diane Ravitch wrote a post yesterday reporting the bad news: according to Education Week the Senate and House are about to pass legislation re-authorizing No Child Left Behind. Though the legislation is called the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act”, the content of the bill sustains the test and punish model that was the basis for both No Child Left Behind and its progeny, Race To The Top. The details are yet to be hammered out, but it appears that the “portability” of Title One funds is dead (for now) and funding for preschool is incorporated but channeled through Health and Human Services— reinforcing the silos as opposed to advocating for some kind of integrated services. The NEA is trying to put a happy spin on this, making a valiant effort to find something to encourage their membership… but the fact is that the worst elements of NCLB are in place. The only difference is that STATES will determine the carrots and sticks instead of the FEDERAL government.

This is sad news… because it likely means another generation of students will be subjected to high stakes testing. It also means another generation of parents will view their child’s schooling through this lens. And even worse, it means those teachers who entered the profession in the last 15 years will never have experienced anything BUT the test-and-punish regimen… and they will soon dominate the profession. The paradigm of teaching that I encountered as a teacher and administrator beginning in 1970 is no longer in existence… except in the most affluent school districts where children on the top end of the standardized testing bell curve scores so high on the tests that teachers are not distracted by them and have the opportunity to teach to the passion of their students and not to the test. Everyone else, and especially the teachers working with children in poverty, is living under the “new” paradigm… which will soon become the dominant one in the minds of students, parents, and teachers who entered the realm of public education since 2002.

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