The Testing Backlash That Wasn't There

A couple of weeks ago, I raised objections to Valerie Strauss's story in the Post about testing, and this week's version (Political Backlash Builds Over High-Stakes Testing) seems just as objectionable. Again, this latest Post piece ignores national survey data showing no particular groundswell of public objections to testing -- this time by inserting local and teacher-funded opinion polling data -- and resurrects claims about widespread test stress among kids that are at worst dubious and at best anecdotal (see Throwing Up Over NCLB). Who is ordering up this stuff, and why are they forcing reporters to create a story that frankly just doesn't seem to be there? [Previous post: WashPost Works Hard To Perpetuate Testing Fears.]

UPDATE: Eduwonk makes fun of the Post here: "Let me get this straight: In states where standardized testing figures as a big issue in the gubernatorial races it turns out to be controversial and concern about it increases...while nationwide polls show the public remains generally supportive of standards-based reform. Wow!"


Blogger Michele at AFT said...

Despite what the national polls have shown, the testing backlash from teachers on the FCAT is real in Florida. It will only get worse as the STAR program expands and uses FCAT scores to evaluate teachers.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Catherine Johnson said...

By "rote" Ms. Rich means "stuff I don't like."

hee hee

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well of course there's a testing backlash among teachers! People who have never been held independently accountable, and who suddenly find themselves so, can wail and gnash teeth with the best of them. Those of us in the business world, where accountability is a near-universal fact of life, can hardly be expected to be symmpathetic.

What teachers need to realize is that accountability has been introduced only because teachers have failed to produce results without it. Accountability is for the benefit of the rest of us - those who want to see our tax dollars used effectively, and those of us who want our kids to actually be taught something - and not for the benefit of teachers.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Nick Ardinger said...

I'm so tired of this fallacy that somehow "business" (as if it were a monolithic object) is accountable in a way that "teachers" (as if they were equally monolithic) aren't. Anonymous, are you talking about independent accountability the way Dick Grasso was independently accountable? Do you mean the way that Ken Lay or Michael Milken was accountable? While businesses are socially allowed to be ruthless in their pursuit of profit, which is generally defined as the ultimate accounting of their success, I don't think you'll get much support for teachers ruthlessly pursuing test scores. Which "results" do you expect them to produce? I'm sure "our kids" are "taught something"...the problem becomes when there are legitimate fields of debate over what that "something" should be.

And the issue isn't about being "held accountable" or not...the question is the means of doing so. If doctors' licenses were revoked based on the status of the health of all the patients they had at 9:13am on a given Tuesday in December, I think you'd hear doctors yelling too. Would you then accuse doctors of "failing to produce results" without such accountability? If General Motors were closed for business based on whether its stock were up or down at a given moment, would that then be bringing proper accountability to the business world?

11:21 AM  

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