Statement to Congress on Testing and ESEA
ACTS Co-chair Pam Grundy is in Washington D.C. this week for the annual meeting of Parents Across America. She will be delivering the following statement to N.C. senators and to Mecklenburg County House representatives.
As Congress works to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, North Carolina parents call on our representatives to eliminate the standardized testing mandates that have done great damage to public education across this country.
Mandating yearly tests in grades 3-8, and handing out rewards and punishments based on their results, has narrowed school curricula, promoted widespread teaching to the test, increased dropout rates and prompted many excellent teachers to leave the profession. It has done nothing to improve student achievement.
Across the nation, parents are standing up to demand an end to this testing madness through protests, boycotts and the power of their votes. North Carolina parents have been an integral part of this movement, as when parents joined together to help force an end to expanded testing in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Federal education policies should promote:
• The development and retention of top-quality, experienced teaching staffs.
• Curriculum and assessments designed to build twenty-first century skills such as innovation, teamwork and complex problem-solving.
• Funding levels that will provide all students with access to a rich, demanding education.
For more than a decade, the federally mandated focus on high-stakes standardized tests has diverted time, energy and funds away from these goals. Current reauthorization plans not only continue this misguided direction, they threaten to expand it by requiring schools to use standardized test results in teacher evaluations.
If our children are to have access to the education that they deserve – and that our nation’s future requires – our representatives must take a hard look at the damage done by past policies, and act to correct them.