Away from testing, back to learning

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It's a critical aspect of establishing balance in life, or in business or school: Knowing when you have too much of a good thing.

And so it should be, when it comes to standardized testing in our public schools.

The names were so aspirationally appealing: No Child Left Behind. Race to the Top. And yet, as the new tests are excitedly introduced, the old ones are never discarded.

Now, after years of protests not just from students conned in to thinking this is all normal but from superintendents, principals, teachers and sensible parents, the testing tide is turning. As it should. Let's get the system back on a track that values deep learning as opposed to testing above all.

Last month President Obama's administration, after years of acting, as did his predecessors, as standardized test proctors in chief, acknowledged that we had gone too far. Then the Council of the Great City Schools released a study that found students take about 112 mandatory standardized tests between prekindergarten and high school graduation. During the last two decades there has been no evidence that academic performance has improved.

So let's return to sensibly allowing testing control by local school boards. With input from parents, they can best ensure our children are not only learning the basics but are getting an education in the arts, in technology, in the wonders of the whole wide world.

The Los Angeles Daily News


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