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NEA: Standardized testing mania hurts students, does nothing to close gaps

‘Brave solution from federal government’ still needed to diminish volume, misuse of toxic tests


WASHINGTON - October 16, 2014 -

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union with 3 million educators, has been sounding the alarm on the toxicity of the standardized testing mania that has been hijacking America’s schools. Recent statements by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools, and today’s report from Center for American Progress have confirmed that too often and in too many places, the education system has turned into a system of teach, learn and test with a focus on punishments and prizes.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“We commend the CCSSO and CGCS for taking a much needed first step to address the sources of over-testing that stem from state and local tests. But in order to reduce the over-use and abuse of standardized tests, we still need a brave solution from the federal government—such as a return to grade span testing. The sheer volume of tests and test prep that students must endure because of over-testing in America’s schools takes away from students’ time to learn and does nothing to close opportunity gaps.

“As educators, we support testing as a way to guide instruction for our students and tailor lessons to their individual needs. When students spend increasing amounts of class time preparing for and taking state and federally mandated standardized tests, we know the system is broken. As experts in educational practice, we know that the current system of standardized tests does not provide educators or students with the feedback or accountability any of us need to promote the success and learning of students. It also doesn’t address the main issues that plague our education system, like ensuring equity and opportunity for all students.

“School is where childhood happens. Even if Civil War dates are forgotten and geometry becomes a blur, one lesson must stick: the love of learning. No bubble test can measure how a kid feels; no standard replaces figuring out how to get along with others. So much happens at school that shapes our children’s tomorrows, including the security, acceptance and joy they feel today.

“Parents don’t want their children to be treated with a one-size-fits-all education approach. And educators know that students are more than a test score, so let educators teach and put an end to the toxic practice of punishing students, schools and educators based on test results.”

 

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers

CONTACT:  Staci Maiers, NEA Communications, 202-270-5333 cell, smaiers@nea.org