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Education Government

Study: Standardized Tests Overwhelming Public Schools (washingtonpost.com) 278

An anonymous reader writes: A new study examined the amount of time U.S. public schools spend on government-mandated standardized tests, and found that the requirements are detrimental to both students and teachers. On average, students will take 112 standardized tests during their K-12 education. From grades 3-11, students spend over 20 hours per year on standardized tests alone. "It portrays a chock-a-block jumble, where tests have been layered upon tests under mandates from Congress, the U.S. Department of Education and state and local governments, many of which the study argues have questionable value to teachers and students. Testing companies that aggressively market new exams also share the blame, the study said."

The U.S. Department of Education has issued an action plan to school districts outlining ways to reduce useless tests and eliminate redundant ones. President Obama even posted a video pledging to reduce the test load of American students. "Standardized testing has caused intense debate on Capitol Hill as lawmakers work to craft a replacement for No Child Left Behind. Testing critics tried unsuccessfully to erase the federal requirement that schools test in math and reading. Civil rights advocates pushed back, arguing that tests are an important safeguard for struggling students because publicly reported test scores illuminate the achievement gap between historically underserved students and their more affluent peers."

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Study: Standardized Tests Overwhelming Public Schools

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  • by laurencetux ( 841046 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:13PM (#50799907)

    the biggest problem with No Child Left Behind is it turns out to be No Child Allowed to Excel.

    So we need to fix Teach The Test first.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:31PM (#50799991)
      That was the whole point of NCLB. To sabotage the schools to help push vouchers to subsidize the school of the 1%. The sabotage is great, and the public can't figure out how to object to "help" that hurts. After all, the pro-school voters can't even comprehend someone deliberately harm school children to push a political agenda fr more welfare for the rich. Until the voters understand the evil nature of some in politics, we'll get the evil, sold as "help".
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh yes, Bush pushed his education program, and the 'success' of Houston's school district. We then get No Child Left Behind. Oh wait, W took credit for NCLB, but didn't actually write most of it. Oh well, he pushed something, and took credit for something that he didn't understand. Just like Iraq.

        In my mind, George W. Bush's big screwups were NCLB, and Iraq. No wonder his brother is having trouble.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25, 2015 @08:12PM (#50800177)

        Exactly. Plus, if the "small government" conservatives allow teachers to actually, you know, teach, that causes them problems. First off, it inherently recognizes teachers as actual professionals and flies in the face of the whole "incompetent teachers protected by the big nasty teachers union" narrative the like to push. Also, and the primary reason for the teachers union meme in the first place, educators have a nasty habit of teaching things they believe to be true as opposed to what is good for corporations or religion and that does not suit the right wingers well either.

        Hence the push for for-profit charter schools and other such corporate entities that are designed first and foremost to indoctrinate and control, and where that doesn't work we have these bundles of for-profit standardized tests to make sure that there's no time in the classroom day for things like critical thinking skills or anything subversive like that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ClaraBow ( 212734 )
        I wish I had some points to mod you up. You are spot on. The NCLB law has created a new kind of legal and subsided segregation. The one's with the means to leave so called "failing schools" have already left. These schools are left with the struggling lower - socioeconomic kids .
      • That was the whole point of NCLB. To sabotage the schools to help push vouchers to subsidize the school of the 1%.

        The top 1% don't need help to pay for private school - they pay their over-sized school tax bill (based on their over-sized home) AND $5,000-$60,000/yr tuition every year.

        Vouchers will get students out of failing public schools, like, Newark, Chicago, etc. and give them a chance to break the cycle of poverty. Public schools and tenure are geared towards rewarding incompetent teachers... The teac

        • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @08:53PM (#50800349) Journal

          Vouchers will get students out of failing public schools, like, Newark, Chicago, etc. and give them a chance to break the cycle of poverty.

          School vouchers are a scam to keep the prisons full. If you hear someone talk about "school reform", run for the hills. They're famous flim-flammers.

          The school "privatization" movement is one of the biggest scandals of the 21st century. Charter schools fail. They exist to funnel money upward, not to educate kids.

          http://www.salon.com/2014/02/1... [salon.com]

          http://www.philly.com/philly/b... [philly.com]

          http://www.eschatonblog.com/20... [eschatonblog.com]

          • This is spot-on. Look at political contribution records and reports. Charter school operators have been buying favor at astonishing rates.

          • This. This. This. This. THIS.

            (For a more articulate response, please insert 300 mL coffee.)

          • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @12:50AM (#50801069)

            To be fair, public schools also fail. You link to Philly.com. Philadelphia School District doubled funding over 10 years and had absolutely nothing to show for it. While I think that the way we fund schools is bat-shit crazy - giving wealthier kids more resources and poor kids less - please don't summarily dismiss just how corrupt many of our cities' school systems are. You are largely correct that charters funnel money away from kids, and yet in Newark more money reaches students at the charter schools than at the traditional public schools. Small wonder parents go to great lengths to get their kids into charters in certain districts.

          • by khallow ( 566160 )

            School vouchers are a scam to keep the prisons full. If you hear someone talk about "school reform", run for the hills. They're famous flim-flammers.

            It's hard to believe that there are enough idiots on Slashdot to find someone who can both read and agree with the above post. Why waste time and money supporting school vouchers when public schools do a fine job of filling the US's prisons?

            The school "privatization" movement is one of the biggest scandals of the 21st century. Charter schools fail. They exist to funnel money upward, not to educate kids.

            You can say the same of public schools (which incidentally, a lot of charter schools are).

            Actual studies are mixed with some showing charter schools ahead of the traditional public schools and some behind - usually dependent on region (which implement the various scho

          • The school "privatization" movement is one of the biggest scandals of the 21st century. Charter schools fail. They exist to funnel money upward, not to educate kids.

            Having been in both public and private K12 schools, the above can be said about ANY school - public or private.

            There are quite a few below part private schools out there. One of the private schools (School A) I went to got kids from another private school in the area (School B); the kids from School B were A or A/B students at that school, but were C/D/F students at School A.

            The point of vouchers is to allow parents to evaluate the schools available to them and allow parents to decide.

            One of my nei

        • The needs of the teacher leads to the needs of the student. Not the other way around. This isn't charity work they are doing. If cities paid teachers appropriately and then negotiate the standards (how teachers can be fired or disciplined and what qualifications they require) off of that then there wouldn't be any issues with the unions. But cities and other municipalities always look at teachers salaries as negotiable and expendable which is a shitty way to look at the people educating your children.
          • The needs of the teacher leads to the needs of the student. Not the other way around.

            No, the needs of the profession lead to the needs of the student. The profession needs to attract competent teachers and ensure that incompetent ones are removed. It needs to ensure that academic standards are high and that there are adequate resources.

            The needs of teachers are that they remain employed with the highest salary and best benefits they can get. There is some overlap between the two sets of needs but they are not the same. Worse even the needs of the teachers are not the top priority for th

            • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @05:13AM (#50801557) Journal

              The needs of teachers are that they remain employed with the highest salary and best benefits they can get.

              Yeah those evil profiteering teachers. Everywhere I go I see teachers in ferraris, research scientists drinking champaign!

              In the real world not everyone is motivated by greed and capitalism:

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

              If teachers wanted higher salaries over all else, then why would they buy school supplies out of pocket? Many teachers, a large fraction I think actually want to teach, and teach well. That way like so many humans they can get real satisfaction out of a job well done.

              • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @08:55AM (#50802439) Journal

                If teachers wanted higher salaries over all else, then why would they buy school supplies out of pocket?

                Those are the good teachers who are sadly a vanishing breed. However the unions do not just represent good teachers they represent the bad ones as well. I'd happily support higher salaries for teachers: my mum was a teacher, my sister is a teacher and I'm a professor. Salaries are so low that they are part of the problem at the moment since it is hard to attract excellent teachers to the profession.

                My point was not that teachers are not due a raise but that the unions are damaging the profession immensely because their priorities have increasingly little overlap with the priorities of the profession. In the absence of money from government for salaries they negotiate for increased job security (which makes it hard to fire bad teachers) and for a reduced work load (which impacts student learning).

                This damage has resulted in a loss of respect for teachers: it's hard to respect your son's teacher when she is telling him that 6/9 is less than 2/3 even when he, and later I, pointed out that they are the same fraction. When a teacher like that cannot be fired for gross incompetence (that was not her only gap in knowledge) you have a serious problem.

            • The problem is that many school districts blame the teachers for problems the teachers cannot control. If 15% of your class are students with English as a second language and 10% of your class have parents with substance abuse problems and 10% are neglected enough that school lunch is their only meal of the day, it's going to be disruptive enough that you'll have a hell of a time teaching most of the kids anything.

              In turn, that means that a school district that simply disciplines that teacher for inadequ
        • by Anonymous Coward

          I don't think that you understand how teaching and learning actually works. What's good for the teacher is good for the student. When a teacher is overworked, underpaid, has low moral, and has the media and the entire right wing of American politics telling them that they are stupid, overpaid, part time employees and they don't deserve unions, bathroom breaks, being able to work one job and still support their family, etc., do you really think they can still do a good job? Is that what's best for student

          • What's good for the teacher is generally good for the student, that I'll give you.

            But it's not always true. What about rules where a teacher can't be fired for poor performance or even a conviction for something like child abuse?

            I think there needs to be is a balance of power between the teacher's union, administration, and parents.

          • by Kartu ( 1490911 )

            No, not really.
            What's good for a bad/cheating teacher isn't good for his/her students.

            Without tests, you can't objectively judge teacher's performance.

            • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @03:00AM (#50801335)

              You also can't do it with tests.

              For many decades, we had schools in which the teachers gave tests that they created it. They used them to grade the students. Failed students would be held back. Passing students would continue their academic career. That's how practically every education American was raised, even in the private schools. Ask yourself what happened that a complete change was required. Why is it suddenly necessary for standardized tests to be created by biased third-parties? Why is it so important that every single child advance at the same rate as every other?

        • The teacher's unions always put the needs of the teachers ahead of the needs of the students - every time. For proof you need look no further than the last contract negotiations in Chicago Public Schools, where teachers demanded raises despite pitiful student learning.

          I'm not a pro-union person, but to be fair, the purpose of a union is to improve the working situation of its members. This isn't like a big scandal or anything. maybe we need a national students union or something like that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The school environment is set up just like the workplace:

        1. Show up between X hours every day.
        2. Everyone follows the same rules, learns the same things, and performs the same tasks.
        3. You're punished if you step a toe out of line. Threats of suspension, expulsion are equally expressed as detrimental as being fired / laid off, though many of us know the setbacks of the latter.
        4. You'll get a little bit of time for electives, but even those will be limited in time and selection. (Equate that to limited time

      • by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @11:39PM (#50800925)

        What maked you think its about the '1%'? do you think they even care?

        Have a look at the teachers, the administrators, the associated unions, the 'think of the children' reactionary crowd, and you soon see that education is pretty much doomed before it begins.

        The majority working in education, especially younger grades, now just see it as a meal ticket, and the kids as an annoyance to be avoided as much as possible.
        Standardised testing is a threat to their ability to do as little as possible for this paychecks.

        The truly sad part of all of this is the teachers (and administrators) who do really care, are being pushed out by this - they get drowned in a system where there is more and more administrative overhead designed to 'measure' everything (and do nothing), which makes is close to impossible to both do a good job and to meet 'requirements'. They tend to either burn out or give up.

        What we desperately need is:
        A return of a path for good teachers to become administrators - and a removal of 'career' administrators who are just collecting a paycheck.
        A strong message to the unions that our childrens schools do NOT exist to give their members a chushy ride, and 'think of the children' cries mixed with 'we can hold them to ransom' threats of action are not acceptible.
        A return of GENDER BALANCE in teachers - it is not healthy that 90% of lower school teachers are now female, and male teachers are being actively removed.
        A removal of teachers 'tenure', which is just an attcak on the kids, combined with:
        Active performance measurement of teachers RESULTS (not self assessed). A teacher who is not performing for her students must not be allowed to continue damaging childrens education!, and note:
        THIS is why teachers cannot self-assess their students! The good teachers judge students harshly, to motivate them, but therefore they look bad - poor teachers however are free to judge their students very easily (this is very very widely documented), making the bad teacher look good...
        And finally, school costs not DIRECTLY related to education need to be taken to, harshly. Large fancy off-site administration buildings do NOT help kids learn better.

        Teachers need respect, and teachers need to EARN respect. Teaching children is a critical role - however we seem to be doing everything possible to damage the profession in return for making teachers lives more comfortable. Imagine if we did the same for pilots or surgeons..

        Is it really that difficult?

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )

          What maked you think its about the '1%'? do you think they even care?

          Because I attended a 1%er private school in a state while the vote came up yet again for for vouchers. The proponents were all 1%ers looking for tax cuts. "I pay to send my kids to school, I shouldn't have to pay again to send someone else's kids to school" was a popular saying among those already sending their kids to private schools. The 1% don't need the money, but they fight it out of principle.

          Have a look at the teachers, the administrators, the associated unions, the 'think of the children' reactionary crowd, and you soon see that education is pretty much doomed before it begins.

          The small government groups increase school spending with tests and silly requirements. Unions aren't a

      • There was no big conspiracy or sabotage. Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy sponsored No Child Left Behind, even though Republican President Bush signed it. The two of them thought they were doing the right thing.

        The problem is just that teachers, administrators, and kids aren't robots or even Pavlov's dogs. If you tie the compensation and job security of the teachers and administrators to how well their kids fill out black circles on a particular set of tests, they're going to switch their class time fro
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ganjadude ( 952775 )
      first step is first. get the feds out of schooling

      not everyone needs the same stuff. a kid growing up in chicago has different needs than a kid growing up in east tenn. Give the schools back to the states (even better back to the individual school systems) and stop getting involved. it has not worked, it doesnt work.
      • How much is there different between two places that needs to be taught? Maybe some state history. The language, math, science, arts, geography, and other classes should all be the same. I moved around Canada when I was growing up and while the pace at which the content was taught was different between the provinces the actual content was the same. For example when we moved out to BC from Ontario I was ahead in math but when we moved back to Ontario I was ahead again. So in those years I was in BC they

        • a kid growing up in manhatten doesnt need to know things like hunting where a kid in the adirondacks would get much more from learning how to hunt than say...spanish

          thats just one example
          • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @11:41PM (#50800933)

            a kid growing up in manhatten doesnt need to know things like hunting where a kid in the adirondacks would get much more from learning how to hunt than say...spanish

              thats just one example

            Elementary schools teach neither hunting nor Spanish, so that is a pretty dumb example. Why would something like math, or reading, need to be taught differently in Manhattan vs the Adirondacks?

    • I was a senior in high school the year before it came out and we called it then," Sounds like no child gets ahead act". Some of my friends seemed concerned that we'd have to make a difference if the next kids don't get a quality education anymore, but I think they were being overly dramatic.
    • The problem is before there was Teach The Test, there was Teach Nothing At All. It's not that schools which were succeeding before are now just teaching to the test; it's that schools which were failing before are now teaching just enough not to be counted as failing (but really still are).

    • the biggest problem with No Child Left Behind is it turns out to be No Child Allowed to Excel.

      I thought this was the point of the 'chrome books in education' programs.

    • Sadly, they're pushing even more Teach The Test in New York. The narrative now is that public school teachers are incompetent idiots who are failing our students. To prove this, there are high stakes tests are factored into annual teacher evaluations. In fact, half of their rating is determined by the tests. If the student doesn't improve on the second test by the amount that State Ed deems he/she should improve, then the teacher is judged to have failed and will be rated "ineffective." Even if the pri

  • by gfxguy ( 98788 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:15PM (#50799925)
    Maybe education should be back in the hands of the states, like it used to be. Yes, I know that'll result in ignorant morons who will be taught to scorn evolution, or consider Pi to be 3 (that's a myth, though, but funny), but then people can choose which states to live in... which was the whole point of allowing states to operate largely independently to begin with.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The lack of standardization of tests is actually an issue. If a student moves from one state to another, how do you know how they match up to your education system? What about states with grade inflation that harms students? I deal with this kind of stuff all the time.

      A lot of what we've found are the administrations have too many competing tools of varying quality for monitoring student progress. Many states make their own tests with arbitrary goals for where a student should be with no data to back the
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 25, 2015 @08:47PM (#50800327)

        I'll add in an anecdote. My mother is a substitute teacher (in Florida) for a class, and has been asked to give out this state given test. The class is something along the very bottom of the school (some kids may not speak english as one possible reason to be in it). Well, the school was asked to give an answer key for the required test, which they didn't give. So I was asked to make a key for her to grade with. The test was horrible. The most obvious problems are with the formatting. There is no clean indication of where a question ends and the next begins. Some of the questions have numbers floating above or below the parenthesis they are supposed to be inside. Some of the questions have multiple answers, which would be fine, if the wording did not seem as if it was trying to misdirect the students on what they are trying to do. It even goes so far that on the answer sheet made for this specific test, the last two questions were obviously switched, as the penultimate had 5 answer fields for 4 possible answers, and the last had 4 answer fields for 5 possible answers. Remember, some of these require selecting more than one bubble.

        There is all of that, and not to mention the copy job on making the test was even shoddy. I have no idea if the test is actually from the State, the District, or from the School itself, but the test looked like it was setup for the students to fail on purpose. Being put through things like this, I can only sympathize with the students if they are forced to act out to get any sort of attention. There is certainly a lack of care on the school's part for them.

    • "people can choose which states to live in"

      Adults can chose which states to live in... children are SOL.

      • If parents don't care enough to go to a star with good schools the kids are SOL anyway....

        Or they would be if there not this little thing called "the internet" which equalizes educational opportunity everywhere.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          Not everyone has the means to just get up and move to a different state and you're suggesting another star?

    • by frnic ( 98517 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @09:15PM (#50800441)

      "but then people can choose which states to live in",

      Yeah, because no one is locked into a bad mortgage, or a bad job, or a healthcare issue that precludes moving from where they are being treated or, well, it doesn't matter. As long as YOU can move when and where you want to.

      Standards are NOT the problem, the problem is the money to be made managing education, selling tests, and books. Like everything we allow "business" to run, it runs wild putting profits above all else.

    • That won't solve this problem - at least in my state, most of the standardized tests were from the state, not the federal government.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dcollins ( 135727 )

      The "point" of having separate states in the U.S. was not remotely to provide different choices for where people could live. The "point" was that the various state leaders were simply going to refuse to join any union that didn't mostly keep their existing little fiefdoms -- most notably in the case of the slave-owning states. For an excellent read on how the sausage was made, consider Robertson's "The Original Compromise: What the Constitution's Framers Were Really Thinking".

      http://www.amazon.com/Original- [amazon.com]

  • Fragmentation. Everyone wants to be a contender, everyone wants to join the bigbiznez club in every market, every arena, and data (test scores) is no exception.

    What, you already have eight different math book publishers in your state? I don't give a fuck, the cash cow is big enough to split nineways and still come out margin. Sorry kids, player nine has entered the game.

    It's the same story for various bullshits, including the article's metrics bullshit.
  • by Nikkos ( 544004 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:37PM (#50800021)

    9 months school x 20 days/mo x 8 hrs/day = 1440 hours.

    1.3% of their time is spent on test. So what? They spend more time than that at lunch, at recess, or even in the toilet (10min/day = 30 hours/year)

    If they're going to attack standardized tests, at least have an argument that withstands even basic contextual comparisons.

    • 1.3% of their time is spent on test. So what?

      And how much time "prepping for the test"? Tests should measure learning achievement, not direct it, but the result of so much testing is that a large amount of classroom time is directed towards the test.

      • Prepping for the test is called learning.
    • The federal definition of a full school year is 185 days...

      20 hours is still less than 2%, apparently the TESTING isn't the issue, it's that teachers want to spend a full week 'preparing' their students for the tests because those tests are the ONLY metric teacher unions will allow to gauge teacher performance...

      They give kids no homework, they insist kids go to bed early, eat big breakfasts, and dedicate themselves to taking the tests.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How much Fox News do you watch to think like that?

        Teachers can't stand standardized tests, precisely because they are forced to spend what they believe to be unnecessary amounts of time teaching students to pass the tests as opposed to teaching students. They have to do this because if a teacher has a group of students who perform badly on the tests, then they get their resources cut, which leads to worse performance, etc. Of course, teachers have no control over which students get assigned to their class

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Of course, what teachers really can't stand is being evaluated by dumbasses.

          Indeed, teachers consider parents "dumbasses" and hate being evaluated by them.

          Doctors are evaluated by other doctors, pilots by other pilots, etc. That is because they are professionals who have professional training that people not in those professions lack

          More importantly, these professionals can then screw over their customers and the tax payer because nobody else can question them.

          Teachers resist the imposition of outside eval

    • You conveniently left out the time teaching to the test, which is much more time than the test itself.

      • You conveniently left out the time teaching to the test, which is much more time than the test itself.

        When was the magical age when teachers didn't "teach to the test"?

        • Teaching to the test means specifically teaching what is needed to pass the standardized tests and ignoring the rest of the curriculum. They don't teach everything that they are supposed to and create exams to show that they students have a working knowledge of it all.

          • Teaching to the test means specifically teaching what is needed to pass the standardized tests and ignoring the rest of the curriculum.

            So, by "standardized tests" what you really mean is "standardized curriculum". I didn't know we had that. It's about time.

    • by djbckr ( 673156 )

      1.3% of their time is spent on test. So what?

      While you might be technically correct, let me tell you from first-hand experience that most of the time the students spend is learning what to answer on the test. They don't learn to think for themselves or do anything fun. The teachers just "teach to the test" in order to get the best scores for the district. Do you remember that group of teachers that got indicted for altering test scores in Atlanta? It's that important. It's a disaster for the kids because they are just learning to regurgitate what is s

  • by mveloso ( 325617 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:45PM (#50800053)

    This report, by the Council of the Great City Schools, is brought to you by the Teacher's Unions, who oppose any attempt to evaluate teacher performance.

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:52PM (#50800083)

    Show me where the federal government is given the authority to regulate education in our constitution.

    You can't because control over education was not granted to the federal government in our constitution.

    Schools are staffed, managed and financed locally. Local control over education means that you have a say in how your kids are educated. If you are unhappy with your schools, you can elect a new school board. If that fails, you can always move to another school district.

    Federal control over education standards will be politicized like everything else in Washington. Do you really want the dysfunction that is Washington DC ending up in your kid's classroom?

    Ron Paul is right. The federal government needs to be out of the education business entirely.

    • by bosef1 ( 208943 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @08:41PM (#50800303)

      Hell, half the time the Feds are the only ones I kinda trust in the in the Education game.

      Oh, I completely agree with you that the Constitution doesn't say anything about the Federal government doing anything with education.

      However, to me it feels like, if they were left to their own devices, half the counties in the US would be teaching creationism to the male, Caucasian, Protestant children of landholders, and telling everyone else to go pound sand. And another third would be too poor to teach their kids anything. I feel like the Feds, as bureaucratic and glacial as they are, are the only things keeping education sane in many of our communities.

      I would agree that, yes, we _could_ let the free market take care of the issue: if people want to give their children a sub-standard education, they will be less competitive in the national and global markets, and they will be competed out of viability within a few generations. But I would imagine that the competitive process would result in a lot of suffering and economic "readjustment" in the community, stuff that I'm going to be on the hook for as a tax payer. Either now, to make them give their children an appropriate education, or later, to cover their unemployment claims and economic restructuring costs.

      Yes, at the end of it, a lot of this comes down to the progressive "I know better than you how you need to do your things", but how do you stand by when someone is fouling it up so bad. And in a way that could be compared to child abuse.

      • "I would agree that, yes, we _could_ let the free market take care of the issue: if people want to give their children a sub-standard education, they will be less competitive in the national and global markets, and they will be competed out of viability within a few generations."

        It's only that capitalism and free market wouldn't be working *on* the labour means but on those controlling the means of production. So it might well be not those people being "less competitive" but just "more abused" and the busi

      • However, to me it feels like, if they were left to their own devices, half the counties in the US would be teaching creationism

        And the problem is???

        Seriously, why do you even care about that? At the grade school level I don't care if they are teaching kids to worship Satan or God or to be Vegan Atheists - as long as they are learning spelling and math the rest will work itself out.

        What kids will be personality and belief wise is in no way determined by what schools try to force down kids minds. In fact if

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Regulation is supposed to be GOOD though. Slashdot people are big fans of it. They can't get enough regulation. If more and more regulation is good for every industry you can think of, then how can it be bad for schools?

      Without all this regulation, something bad might happen. You don't want bad things to happen, do you?

    • Article 1, Section 8, Section 1: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."...and Section 18: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." Congress controls the money, and they can use it any way that is "necessary and proper" for the "general welfare" of our nation. Pretty broad power.

      But, to clarify, Congre

      • By that logic, is there anything that the federal government would be barred from doing? Or, backwards, why would the framers write a big list of things that the federal government is allowed to do, and include a wildcard in that list?

        These were very well educated and rational men. Why would they bother spending all that time debating and writing a lengthy document when "do whatever you want" would have been so much shorter and simpler?

  • OMG! (Not) (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Sunday October 25, 2015 @07:59PM (#50800119) Homepage Journal

    On average, students will take 112 standardized tests during their K-12 education. From grades 3-11, students spend over 20 hours per year on standardized tests alone.

    30 hours a year! Why, if spread out over the 32 weeks of school (185 days = one school year, if there are 5 school days per week, then 185 / 5 = about 32 weeks) that comes out to less than 45 minutes a week, or put another way, about three full school days out of 185, or about 2% of school time per year...

    Something that occupies 2% of student class time per school year is overwhelming students?

    No, it isn't. The teachers unions have made standardized testing the only metric allowed to measure their performance, and now they want to remove even that metric.

    • I'm going to go ahead and share these again, since people can't be bothered to do any research.

      Here's one example: Texas [texas.gov].

      6 days of testing per semester. Sure, amortized that is 48 hours out of 720 (90 * 8), and it seems like a pretty small number... Remember that because of the teachers/schools getting punished for poor grades, they teach to the test to ensure the kid in the corner eating glue can remember how to add.
  • Kids who test well don't say much about how well the school population is actually learning anything. Just fairly basic tests can tell you if the kids at any given school are learning much in the way of writing or arithmetic, both key....

  • Burden the public schools with standardized tests, cut funding and then privatize. Pocket billions in a huge rent seeking scheme. As an added bonus further undermine people's faith in govt so you can cut back on social services and pocket that money too I beloved believe it's called "Starve the Beast". Which sounds good until you realize that beast was a watchdog.
    • Burden the public schools with standardized tests, cut funding and then privatize. Pocket billions in a huge rent seeking scheme. As an added bonus further undermine people's faith in govt so you can cut back on social services and pocket that money too I beloved believe it's called "Starve the Beast". Which sounds good until you realize that beast was a watchdog.

      I wish I'd said that. I probably will, sooner or later, without attribution.

  • The 20 hours the tests take per year aren't a problem. The real issue is that funding is tied to the performance of how the school does on the tests which leads the teachers to focus only on material that will appear on the tests. This means that the children are receiving the all of the material. Unfortunately because the tests have to cover such large areas they can't take into account the different curriculum for each state so you get a lowest common denominator.

  • ...the public education system's spent the last fifty or so years frittering away the faith of the public so something's going to result. Testing's one the results but there are more then a few others.

    Charter schools, now in forty-four states are probably the most widespread result but testing is right up there. Coming up pretty quickly is vouchers/education savings accounts.

    The days of the school district as the one solution to the problem of educating the next generation are coming to an end.

    Get used to i

  • I love all the comments about 25.3 hours on standardized testing is no big deal. Y'all clearly failed reading comprehension or are letting your political biases blind you. The article clearly says those 25.3 hours are spent TAKING the 112 tests. Here's the relevant paragraph...

    The heaviest testing load falls on the nation’s eighth-graders, who spend an average of 25.3 hours during the school year taking standardized tests, uniform exams required of all students in a particular grade or course of study. Testing affects even the youngest students, with the average pre-K class giving 4.1 standardized tests, the report found.

    Those of us in or related to education know what a total clusterf*ck NCLB made of public education in America. If we don't restore our public education system, it will collapse and horrific for-profit companies will completely control

  • In theory, tests should be utilized for two purposes: determining the effectiveness of a curriculum and how it is taught (i.e. the teacher), and determining a specific student's retention. Unfortunately, making test scores part of a student's permanent record (via Grades) leads to discrimination against those who do poorly on tests, which leads to the dysfunctional practice of 'cramming'. Cramming leads to much-reduced retention compared to other learning techniques, and further testing (e.g. final exams) w

  • Public education is in a bad spot right now. You have the right wingers trying to privatize most of it, demonizing teachers and teachers' unions, and meanwhile the students have to deal with it. I am of the opinion that teachers should be paid well and treated like true professionals. Everyone loves to quote the "rubber room" story and point out how hard it is to fire a teacher, but what about the good ones? Why should they have to suffer under a flawed standardized testing regime that will cost them their

  • by luis_a_espinal ( 1810296 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @08:15AM (#50802177) Homepage

    Standardized Tests Overwhelming Public Schools

    The problem in America is not the concept of standards, but their execution. The way we have them, they are a Rube Goldberg clusterfuck of a system, done like no one else on Earth. And for what? Supposedly to "fix" the lack of education in this country, compared to other countries such as Finland, Singapore, Japan or Germany.

    Which is completely bollocks because the problem with education in this country is that we do not have a sensible way of funding public schools. We fund them primarily with property taxes. And obviously that creates a subsidized segregated system where people living in well-to-do zip codes (like me) get the best resources for their children, whereas people living in poor areas get to send their children to public schools that don't even have soap with which to wash their hands.

    The problem is economic segregation, and what we see now are just symptoms that were going to happen, federal government or not. The only good thing I see about standardized tests is that they are the final catalysts that make all this crap come up to the surface.

    If the federal government has a say on education, then the federal government must provide a fix % bracket for funding as a function of the number of children in a given school, regardless of zip code.

    If we do not want the feds in it, but want the states to fund education, then do the same, have the federal government dictate a minimum % bracket for funding schools as a function of the # of children in them, regardless of zip code.

    Either way will solve the root cause of all this crap. Then and only then we should be tackling test standardization.

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