A decade into the school accountability movement, pockets of resistance to standardized testing are sprouting up around the country, with parents and students opting out of the high-stakes tests used to evaluate schools and teachers.
From Seattle, where 600 high school students refused to take a standardized test in January, to Texas, where 86 percent of school districts say the tests are “strangling our public schools,” anti-testing groups argue that bubble exams have proliferated beyond reason, delivering more angst than benefits.
The opt-out movement is nascent but growing, propelled by parents, students and some educators using social media to swap tips on ways to spurn the tests. They argue that the exams cause stress for young children, narrow classroom curricula, and, in the worst scenarios, have led to cheating because of the stakes involved — teacher compensation and job security.
Standardized testing is one of the most controversial aspects of the accountability movement that began in earnest in 2002 when President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act.
Some say the Obama administration has pushed the stakes even higher through its Race to the Top program, which encourages states to use the standardized test scores to evaluate teachers. In some states, as much as half of a teacher’s job evaluation is now determined by student scores on standardized tests.
The resulting pressure is distorting education, anti-testing activists say.
It's a pretty good article - it lays the blame for the testing craze on both Bush and Obama, it notes that while Obama said in 2011 there may be too much reliance on testing in education, his policies actually promote exactly that, and it shows how more and more parents are joining the op-out movement.
It also gives us some scary figures that should give us some pause:
In 2001, states spent $552 million on testing.
In 2012, states spent $1.7 billion on testing.
Most states haven't even begun to implement the Common Core tests in every grade in every subject in order to evaluate teachers, as Obama's Race to the Top policy requires.
Just wait until the testing price tag then.
No wonder News Corporation and Microsoft and many other corporations are putting the hard sell on Common Core on the radio and TV these days.
They stand to make billions off this.