In April of 2015 Linda Darling-Hammond wrote an article for the Huffington Post entitled, “For New Federal Law, We Should Be Asking Why and How We Test, Not Just How Often.”
In the article Ms. Darling-Hammond cites research which states:
“•Black 9 year old students gained 19 points in reading between 1971 and 1980, and 15 points between 1994 and 2004, but only 9 points between 2004 and 2012.
•Hispanic 9 year olds gained 19 points in reading between 1994 and 2004 and only 9 points between 2004 and 2012.
•Virtually all the progress for 13 year olds and every bit of the progress for 17 year olds happened between 1971 and 1988 as the children from the Great Society years made their way through school.
•The greatest gains and the greatest gap closing for Black and Hispanic students in math also occurred before the NCLB era – generally in the 1970s and into the ’80s as those who were young children in the 1970s made their way through school.
Furthermore, between 2000 and 2012, U.S. scores on the international PISA tests, which measure higher order thinking skills and applications of knowledge, declined in math, reading, and science. The NCLB strategy, which led to a focus on low-level tests of basic skills, has clearly not worked to raise achievement or close the gaps.”
While we continue to concentrate on testing as the evil inherent in education, it is the language of education that creates the failure our children experience.
It is the language of education that supports our children’s disabilities rather than discovering, developing, and directing their gifts and talents towards becoming knowledgeable, actively involved citizens.
It is the language of education that allows some children to receive a developmentally appropriate, Arts based, experiential education while children in poor, urban, public schools receive common core instruction, remediation, training, and testing.
As long as we continue to allow our current system of education to separate, discriminate, and dehumanize our children by forcing them into a life of servitude and fear, concentrating on jobs and money instead of family and love, we will continue to experience the failure of all of our children to become caring, respectful human beings.
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