With all the news around the opt-out movement, one important question is often overlooked. Who really benefits when students opt out of an annual test?
One thing is for certain, it’s not the kids.
Union leaders are working to keep their membership rosters high, not advocating what is best for students. Annual testing potentially threatens their membership levels by revealing how well students are learning and where improvement is needed. With this information, parents, schools and states can make informed decisions and work toward improved learning for all children. Without it, some students will be cheated out of the education they deserve.
Derrell Bradford, executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now, explained in a recent New York Post opinion piece just how damaging the anti-testing movement is for our most vulnerable students. He says:
Fact is, annual testing has helped level the playing field for millions of kids — in particular, low-income children of color, whose failures are often ignored or swept under the rug by the status quo.
To borrow from “The Wire,” many cities and states historically have “juked the stats,” allowing the chronic failure of these students to go unchecked for many years. By the time anyone knew that these kids were lagging, it was too late to do anything about it.
A world without the objective feedback that test scores provide is one that does the neediest kids the most disservice. Without rigorous, independent measures of student performance, millions of low-income, academically needy African-American and Hispanic kids can’t get the additional help they need and deserve.
On the other hand, annual testing sends up instant red flags about kids who need help, and it offers confirmation that the higher-scoring kids have learned the material they’re expected to know…
So instead of attacking the problem — recognizing that teaching is hard, that results matter, that some kids need extra help — they [the unions] prefer to shoot the messenger: the tests.
They’ve asked parents across the state to opt out of the annual exams. Their goal: To make parents and teachers just as afraid of the testing process as they are.
Not only is this self-serving — it’s self-destructive.
Read the complete piece at the New York Post.