All over Indiana teachers are cramming facts into kids heads in a futile attempt to give them one extra point on the test. All over Indiana teachers are giving kids "test-taking tips" in a futile attempt to get kids to do better by manipulating the process of the test rather than the process of learning. All over Indiana teaching has deteriorated to this mindless, test-driven focus.
In our nation's capital the congress is babbling over No Child Left Behind in a futile attempt to fix the law that has all but crippled American education. Secretary of Education Spellings continues to blather about how NCLB has worked to improve teaching learning and lessen the achievement gap, when, in fact, none of these things have happened.
Standardized testing is no longer used for diagnosing educational needs. It's now just a way of ranking kids. It would be cheaper and just as accurate...and we would get the same results...if we ranked kids by ZIP code. Poverty is the number one obstacle causing the so-called "achievement gap" in the country today. And politics is the number one obstacle to educating children in general.
Poverty, as the media is fond of saying, is no excuse. Gerald Bracey, educational researcher, replies that, true, poverty is not an excuse...it is a condition, just like gravity. "Gravity affects everything you do on the planet. So does poverty." Poverty doesn't disappear. In fact, the number of children in poverty has increased under the Bush administration. The number of children who are being denied adequate food, clothing, shelter and health care has increased. What's happening in Washington?
Yesterday's newspaper had an article about the super-rich...and how it is the "in" thing to buy a $50,000 handbag.
Read the last two paragraphs again...I'll wait...
It's time to close the Bush tax gifts to the wealthy. It's time to pass the No Child Left Unfed Act, the No Child Left Without Health Care Act, the No Child Left Homeless Act and the No Child Left in Poverty Act. That's the way to make sure that no child gets left behind and to eliminate the "achievement gap."
Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing