Monday, March 22, 2021

Why We Don't Need The Big Standardized Test In One Quote

This is taken from the reformy Jebucation ExcelInEd website:

If we don't have a strong accountability system, then students from low-income families and students of color will not receive the instruction and resources needed to be successful.

That's Pam Stewart, former education chief of Florida, the testocrat who famously demanded that a dying child take the Big Standardized Test

It's an illuminating quote. By "strong accountability system," she of course means high-stakes attached to the Big Standardized Test. Let me make a couple of observations.

1) If you already know that low-income families and students of color are the ones who need instruction and resources, what the heck do you need test results for? Seriously. Stewart is not saying, "Our legislators are poised with a big pile of resources, but they just have no idea where they're needed until we get those test results back!"

2) Florida's history tells us that BS Test results are not used to get instruction and resources to students who need them. BS Test scores are used to target public schools for takeover or to have a charter school open across the street or for resources to be drained so that privatizers can make a buck with an education-flavored product. Florida's history is filled with examples of fairly blatant segregation tolerated by powers that be (and which did not require test scores in order to be visible).

3) And, of course, "strong accountability system" in Florida has never meant accountability for legislators who failed to fully, equitably fund public education. 

2021 is an excellent year to opt out, in Florida and across the country.


  1. If we don't have a strong accountability system, then students from low-income families and students of color will not receive the relentless test prep, an unyielding focus on just two tested subjects, and a severely constrained educational experience with immeasurable opportunity costs that only widen the disparity gap
    between them and the children of privilege.

  2. I so agree! Here is my journey update trying to fix this mess we are in:

  3. Schools need to measure the progress of their students in the early grades - they need to be sure that the children are learning to read by the end of third grade. It cannot be left up to each individual teacher to determine whether or not the children have reached proficiency - there needs to be a norm-referenced and reliable and yes, standardized testing instrument that districts can adopt to measure the progress of their kids. This is not about race or poverty, it's just about kids - all kids - period. And state and federal governments should stay out of this and stop using the education of our children as a political issue.

    1. How does standardized testing account for the cognitive diversity of children? It doesn’t. Go ahead... standardize their education and measure their progress like meat on a butcher’s scale. Drive the cold hard stake of inappropriate pressure into the malleable mind of the child. What will you get? Inhuman educational experience.

    2. Why can it not be left up to teachers? Do you think teachers are surprised by standardized test data? We already know which students need more support, and we already do everything we can to give them more support. For teachers who don't know who those students are, or don't do everything they can to offer them more support, test scores will not help.