Is there a debate about this spring's Big Standardized Test, exactly? On one side, you have pretty much everyone who has actual direct knowledge of education and teaching pointing out the many reasons that going ahead with 2021's spring edition of the BS Test is a waste of time and money (I've been offering my two cents on the subject here and here and here and here and here, for example). On the other side, you have various newspaper editorial boards, leaning heavily on "research" by testing companies that stand to lose money if the test boom finally collapses.
But with the new administration, everyone seems to sense a window of opportunity, with secretary-designate Miguel Cardona being seen as someone who does not have strong inclinations one way or the other. So now is a good time to make some noise and spread the word-- this year is not the year to trot out the BS Test again.
Next Tuesday, the folks Bob Schaeffer and the folks at Fair Test are holding a national on-line town hall. The National Town Hall on Suspending High-Stakes Testing in Spring 2021will be
held January 26 at 6:00 EST, and it features a powerhouse line-up of education speakers:
U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman, New York -- House Education Committee
Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig, Dean, University of Kentucky College of Education
Dr. Lorrie Sheppard, Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Colorado
Dr. Jack Schneider, Asst. Professor, Leadership in Education, University of Massachusetts
Dr. Lisa Escarcega, Colorado State Board of Education
Roberto Jiménez, School Committee Member, Chelsea, Massachusetts
MCs will be Bob Schaeffer, Executive director of FairTest, and Ilana Spiegel, University of Colorado Board of Regents.
There are so many reasons not to give the tests this spring, but probably the biggest is that there is no good reason TO give the tests, and with districts already strapped for time and/or money, so many more important, more useful, and more educational things that teachers could be doing.
You can register for the town hall here. Doesn't cost a cent, and if you miss it, the meeting will be recorded and put up on Facebook. Make some noise. Of all the actions that the new Department of Education could take, nothing would be simpler to implement or more far-reaching in its positive effect. Let's get this right.