Dear Commons Community,
An anti-testing backlash is growing in this country with parents and educators increasingly demanding changes to the No Child Left Behind Act. A new National Education Policy Center Policy Memo published yesterday points out that the mistakes in NCLB may be repeated, as lawmakers in Washington, D.C. begin discussions on its reauthorization.
NCLB was “an ineffective solution to some very real problems,” according to the new NEPC Policy Memo. The memo, Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: Time to Move Beyond Test-Focused Policies, discusses the broad research consensus that standardized tests are ineffective and even counterproductive when used to drive educational reform. It is the basis of an online petition inviting education researchers to express their support for moving toward opportunity-based reform approaches.
The memo is authored by Professor Kevin Welner of the University of Colorado Boulder, who is NEPC’s director, and by William Mathis, who is managing director of NEPC and serves on the Vermont State Board of Education.
Thirteen years of intense focus on test-score improvement has yielded few if any benefits. Yet negative, unintended consequences have continued to mount—in the form of narrowed and less engaging curriculum, constrained instruction, and deprofessionalized teachers and teaching, Welner and Mathis point out. Presidents Bush and Obama can equally share the blame for this sad state of affairs.
This year is critical for public education in this country. The issues presented in the reauthorization of the NCLB will have severe ramifications for our children if not addressed properly.