Why standardized testing and our current education model keeps us stuck in the 19th century

By Henry Brzycki What parents do not know and our educational leaders do not want you to know is that standardized testing actually hurts children; it does more harm than good to their emotional, psychological and physical well-being. In the 21st century, can’t we do better, can’t we come up with a new vision of a system of education that actually empowers the full and unique potentials of each child – the whole child? This is what is very wrong about the U.S. Department of Education’s policies on standards and testing. It is not the model or prism of thinking that will allow the United States to flourish in the 21st century and beyond, in that it keeps us stuck in 19th century thinking about our society, schools and ourselves. As Congress debates the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind), numerous educational leaders have taken both sides of the standardized testing issue, and now with a whole new set of standards known as the Common Core, the debate has been heightened; this is as it should be because our children’s future well-being is at stake. I hope to place an exclamation point on those voices around the country that are against such outdated practices. I have consulted recently to the U.S. Department of Education on the Race to the Top initiative, where there is a strong chorus nationwide against NCLB-type testing requirements. In all but a few of the states, waivers have been granted holding schools and districts accountable using archaic methods. Very forward, visionary, 21st-century thinking has emerged nationwide, and many school districts will need to play catch-up. Can’t we do better than the black-and-white debate about whether standards-based education is the best way forward? Many school board leaders and school superintendents share the view that because they have put so much into the existing model – i.e., testing – it would be easier to maintain it so as to realize the return on that investment. Still other leaders ask for input from key stakeholders – i.e., parents – inquiring into better ways to spend our money? Experienced educators and concerned parents already know that our model of education and required does not support the whole child. Compare this view with one of the most dynamic and visionary school leaders in Maryland, Joshua Starr, who is attempting to be a model disrupter by sponsoring the Gallup organization to survey students’ dreams. The thinking is that if educators can know and understand young people’s dreams for their futures, the curriculum and instruction provided through schooling can be designed to support those dreams. Now that is 21st-century thinking! Read the full article here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2014/05/19/3117232/why-standardized-testing-and-our.html?sp=/99/342/

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