At last week's Ed in '08 Blogger Summit, I asked a question about alternatives to high-stakes testing to the education policy panel and received an answer that had attendees coming up to me for the rest of the conference.
Watch the three-minute exchange here:
What do you think of this? The education-blogging community seems to have a bunch to say about it:
Robert Pondiscio at Core Knowledge sees an opportunity for Teach for America to use its political capital to support Amy Wilkins's dream of putting master teachers in every high-needs classroom. It's a compelling idea.
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) asks:
asks: "Was Wilkins just dodging Brown's question or refocusing the debate on a root cause of test anxiety (new teachers in over their heads)?"
Fire-breathing Teaching in the 408 sneers at me for what he describes as "whine-despair-whine-hand-to-the-forehead-whine of the tests are big and bad and scary." I certainly don't agree with his assertion that it's entirely the fault of adults in the school when students are intimidated by the Big Test.
I believe the school system--pushed in many ways directly and indirectly by No Child Left Behind--emphasizes testing to a hyperbolic, counterproductive degree. Sure, many adults are complicit in feeding the scary, suffocating aura of standardized tests. But his if-you-think-testing-is-mean-and-bad-then-just-toughen-up attitude defends a testing regime that has gone off the rails of authentic assessment. (I'm also wondering why he didn't say anything aloud about this to me when we sat next to each other for several chunks of the day. We could have had a useful discussion.)
Partnership for Learning titled this a "Great Moment in the Teacher Quality Debate" (although maybe it's just one of the few posted on YouTube).
I'd like to throw it out there to non-wonks: What do you think about the current system of testing in public schools? Who should teach where? How can we turn up the volume on the discourse about education in America?
Join the discussion in the comments section!