Standardized testing is out of control in our public schools. Parents and educators are fed up with the stress, the time wasted in endless test prep and the costly fallout that includes narrowing curricula and closing schools. The National Research Council has concluded that the huge expansion in high-stakes exams has not improved student learning.
Our own experience with testing, as teachers and administrators in your local schools, has been one based on hundreds of hours of managerial nightmares, distraught parents and students who are over-stressed.
Given the many well-documented drawbacks of high-stakes testing, we are dismayed to see elected representatives supporting policies that will increase the educational damage. Of particular concern:
Washington state is spending over $20 million yearly on high stakes testing for federal compliance.
Local school districts are estimated to be spending upwards of $30 million yearly to meet state testing requirements.
We are asking citizens to consider an alternative approach that will lessen the impact of lost instructional time by allowing school districts to choose between any nationally recognized student assessment to meet federal accountability. There are currently 15 states that require the ACT or SAT to meet federal accountability.
We are also calling for legislation that delinks graduation and high stakes testing.
If one of the primary objectives of public education is to ensure our children are career and college ready, then utilizing a nationally normed and recognized assessment system that is already in place only makes sense.
High-stakes testing does more harm than good. It stands in the way of genuine school improvement.
Enough is enough!
Eric Cahan, Snohomish HS Principal
Dan Lee, Lakewood School District Human Resources Director
John Lombardi, Monroe School District Principal
Dwight Lundstrom, Oak Harbor High School Principal