Books are Enough

The Power of Free, Self-Selected Reading

The Accountability Scam

Standardized test scores are fairly meaningless and teachers do a disservice to students when they obsess over them. The defenders of the status quo – like Arne Duncan, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee and an assorted gathering of gaggling geese will stop at nothing to mislead the nation and push an agenda driven – false- idea of accountability. The so called reformers have a fundamental distrust of -and hatred for- public education and teachers. Folks who do not work with students on a daily basis often have the twisted idea that test scores make a teacher effective or ineffective. I often wonder why anyone wants to be an effective agent of test preparation. 

Teachers, of course, are the professionals who can best evaluate students. The guardians of the status quo will never allow this. They would lose their political hammer and the power that flows from it- not to mention the money.

It is always amusing to read the ways some claim both sides of test results. When they drop “we need higher standards and we are failing!” When scores move up- even by a nudge “we are doing great- accountability works.”

For Jeb Bush and his friends- including Arne Duncan- it does not matter how many lives you save or careers you inspire. It is all about standardized test scores. The process – the journey- of learning, means nothing. It all comes down to billion dollar testing. This thinking reduces the value of the individual and marginalizes the most needy in society. 

The scapegoating of schools is nothing new. It has increased as more people are standing up against the lie of “failing schools.” There is a sense of panic and desperation within the scapegoating crowd. They are trying to divide students and teachers.

Remember, at the heart of the issue is the immoral philosophy that diverts billions of dollars to more testing and standards.We can wait for some Deus ex Machina or we can call out those who lie about schools, harm kids with the lie of massive testing and mislead the nation. We can act. Opting out of testing is one weapon we need to employ more often. 

Stop buying the idea that all of this outside testing equates to learning, success or college and career readiness. IT IS A SCAM. The Jeb Bush crowd tells you that WE need massive outside testing. How else can we measure!? Of course this shows a fundamental lack of understanding of education and life. Teachers offer real accountability. We oppose the low standards that let kids buy credit, offer waivers and put kids in sham credit recovery classes or virtual centers. We oppose the lie that says if you score a 245 on a state test you are college ready and can read, but if you score a 244 you are a failure. 

Remember- do not buy into the testing hype. All of the test result talk is simply prattling on about picking gnat sh*t out of pepper. Don’t play the game of test and punish or test and reward. You see if we take away the educational testing complex that has been built up by politicians- their whole charade collapses. 

Are we going to stand up for what matters for kids or let these buskers destroy our profession, the dignity of learning and kids?


“… to conclude that problems of international competitiveness can be solved by educational reform, especially educational reform defined solely as school reform, is not merely utopian and millennialist, it is at best a foolish and at worst a crass effort to direct attention away from those truly responsible for doing something about competitiveness and to lay the burden instead on the schools.”

Lawrence Cremin- Education Historian


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