The Kids Most Definitely Are Not All Right

The latest NAEP scores indicate a very troubled education system, and eliminating standardized tests certainly won’t solve the problem.

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On the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), or “nation’s report card,” test scores in both reading and math declined for 13-year-old students, the first drop registered in 50 years. The test showed that the decline was concentrated among the lowest performing students. Peggy Carr, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, who has been working with these data for 28 years, was shocked to see the decline. “I had to ask the question again of my staff. Are you sure?’ I asked them to go back and check,” she said.

It’s important to note that this test was given in early 2020, right before the pandemic-related shutdowns in the spring. At that point, then Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos granted a blanket, one-year “accountability waiver.” But in February 2021, with the Biden administration in place, new Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said he’d “require states to administer the federally mandated tests in the spring, with an asterisk: They had the option of giving shorter, remote, or delayed versions.”

Bad idea. Per researcher Dan Goldhaber, “Using different versions of tests makes the results less comparable across different years and school districts.” And shorter tests produce less “actionable” information about individual student achievement in the short term. Nevertheless, the trend to disparage, eviscerate and ultimately do away with standardized tests is all the rage these days.

It’s also happening on the college level. Brandon McCoy, education policy expert at the Manhattan Institute, reports that the standardized test “has slowly lost its pride of place in college admissions over the past decade. By 2019, the number of schools going test-optional had risen to 1,050. The pandemic has catalyzed this trend, with at least 1,400 colleges in 2021 making the move to test-optional. College systems around the country are now permanently eliminating the requirement for the SAT and ACT; the University of California system is doing away with the tests altogether.”

Of course, the education establishmentarians will do anything to discredit low test scores because it makes them look bad. In fact, the teachers unions are actively working to eliminate any kind of standardized assessments because they know that if they don’t, public fury – especially from parents – could lead to reforms that could hurt the unions’ bottom line. The unions invoke terms like “test and punish” and “high-stakes testing” to put a bad spin on the assessments. But this is like a fat person blaming the bathroom scale for his obesity. A good test is diagnostic, explains where things are amiss, and may show ways to make improvements. No matter, the unions don’t care. And these days they have a new weapon – tests are racist, they say. For example, the Massachusetts Teachers Association is speaking out against the state’s standardized test, insisting that it has “allowed white supremacy to flourish in public schools.” The teachers union is endorsing a bill that would eliminate getting a passing score on the test as a graduation requirement in the state.

In Canada, Teri Mooring, president of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation, quipped that standardized testing is “hurtful” and blamed a “right-wing think tank” for misusing results to “inappropriately rank B.C. schools,” which contributes to “entrenching both real and perceived inequities.”

The National Education Association also makes the absolutely baseless claim that testing children is racist. “From grade school to college, students of color have suffered from the effects of biased testing.” The union goes on to say, “Since their inception a century ago, standardized tests have been instruments of racism and a biased system,” and that “students of color, particularly those from low-income families, have suffered the most from high-stakes testing in U.S. public schools.”

Instead, NEA wants to promote “authentic assessments that reflect the broad range of students’ learning and skills, including creativity, leadership, critical thinking, and collaboration.” In other words, they want the tests to use highly subjective assessments, which the union will have a heavy hand in controlling.

Click here to read the full article at the California Policy Center


  1. Why do you think China was able to develop a hypersonic missile system we can’t match? And what else may they be developing that they aren’t sharing? While the US is all fuzzy-headed with political correctness and pronouns, and trying to accomplish the impossibility of equal outcomes, Chinese young who show mental acuity are being fast-tracked into hard core science and tech education, without regard for whether the kid prefers ‘he’ or ‘they.’ Vast numbers of kids in China are studying hard, working diligently 12 months a year at becoming more proficient and better at whatever their skill is. Our kids are watching idiotic TV fare, eating themselves into heart attacks and turning in everyone who is not Woke for hate crimes. We deserve to be stomped out and overrun by the communist government of China.

  2. Somehow the testing has to relate to the training of the student. For a student who has taken Algebra, geometry to be compared to a student that completed basic arithmetic (appropriately placed) is absurd. What most people in America use is ARITHMETIC. Advanced math has to be based on the students ability, desire,and success at lower levels. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make the horse drink the water. Same with our youth. Many have NO desire to learn math. Expecting the teacher to teach that child abstract math such as Algebra only causes the student to miss other more relevant classes the student might find useful in the future. Another factor of importance is the parent. Those parents that pay little or no attention or time to insuring the student is doing the required homework, extra help, time and place to do homework or even tries to work/communicate with the teacher are just allowing the student to drift farther behind. Most student failures in classes is NOT the teacher’s responsibility. Politicians ARE a big part of the problem because they don’t want to face the realities in education and irritation of the unions.

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