The United States of America is a civilized country that has laws protecting our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. These laws, including child labor laws, have been in place for decades. Our children are to be in school learning all that is necessary to become responsible and productive members of our society. Of late, school has changed. It has become a place to be even more dreaded by students and loved by the opportunistic educational supply companies.
In the good old days when I was in school, our district only tested us with standardized tests every couple years with the California Achievement Test. We were told to just relax and do our best. The results didn't effect our grades. They just provided information for the teachers. Not much fuss was made about the results.
In college, I studied pedagogy otherwise known as teacher education. I sat in class that ripped apart the effectiveness of standardized testing. Culture, language, and economic factors vary greatly across our country and the world. Standardized testing cannot accommodate these variations. Subsequently, one group benefits and the rest suffer.
Ironically, this was the same time period when standardized testing was beginning to gain momentum in education. The NTE (National Teacher Exam) and grade level mandatory achievement test were implemented. I remember thinking that this madness should end long before my sons reached high school. I was wrong.
Why the increasingly desperate push for standardized testing and now the Common Core Curriculum?
Money and Politics
Bashing the current education system is a simplistic but effective campaigning tool. Terrify the constituents into believe that the schools are doomed and can only be saved by your new program. With each new program, the schools need to buy new materials. Millions of dollars are funneled into the pockets of the publishers and education "specialists".
Each test costs the school money. Each test is taken by a student. Not only are they taking this test which feeds the database, they are losing essential time for other more productive activities. The students from Ipswich Middle School in Massachusetts opened my eyes to the reality of the situation. They are being forced to essentially work for Pearson and other such companies but are not compensated. Neither is the teacher nor the school administration.
People profit greatly from these tests in part because of the use of forced and unpaid labor. It is, in reality, akin to slavery. The profits would not be there if the schools weren't forced to partake. Not only are they not compensated for "trial runs" but they are forced to pay for the final versions. The whole education model has become a slave of the standardized tests and the Common Core or the latest and greatest "revolutionary idea".
This sickens me. It outrages me to see the effects on the schools. The stress of my sons as they prepare for tests is ridiculous. The number of bright students burned out by high school shocks me.