Editor’s Note: Playing politics with testing
Over the weekend, the White House posted a video to Facebook of President Barack Obama giving a “pop quiz” on testing in public schools. He asked what viewers would want students to do in school, if they had more free time, ranging from studying a new language and learning to code HTML to taking more standardized tests.
The correct answer definitely wasn’t the latter. Obama said when he thinks of his best teachers, he doesn’t think of how they prepared him for tests, but for the way “they taught me to believe in myself.”
The president has joined a growing chorus of teachers, parents and students who say testing is taking the joy out of the classroom.
Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton, who is striving to gain the support of teachers unions, quickly got on the bandwagon, stating in a press release, “We should be ruthless in looking at tests and eliminating them if they do not actually help us move our kids forward.”
Obama’s “Testing Action Plan” may sound good, but if the president really wants to reduce testing, he should work with Republicans in Congress to craft a rewrite of No Child Left Behind — the law that’s led to much of the current emphasis on tests. The GOP drafts would give more control back to the states and relieve some of the federal testing burden.
But Obama’s not likely to agree to loosening the federal grip on schools.