This week Park Slope parents hit the street to protest a very important issue: standardized testing. Their kids don’t need the pressure from these “high stakes” test and they refuse to take the matter sitting down! So they are organizing a boycott, gosh darnit.
Nevermind the fact that studies -- like one conducted by Martin Carnoy and Susanna Loeb of Stanford -- show that standardized tests do make a difference... just not to students who typically come from the socioeconomic classes you find in Park Slope. But for sub-par teachers and low-income students, the structure imposed by standardized tests make a significant difference. Studies done by the University of Michigan found that these system closed a quarter of the gap in math achievement between black and white fourth graders.
On the other hand, Jay Greene of the University of Arkansas, one of the nation's leading experts on education, feels that upper-class students would be better off with more “art and recess” than time spent studying for these exams. Vicky Abeles, producer of the education-based documentary Race to Nowhere, agrees, claiming that kids who stress out over an excess of homework and tests is actually a national crisis.
You won’t find anyone who thinks standardized tests are dumber than me. But I’ll also be the first to point out that your kid is probably not going to be a creative genius. Innovation and creativity do not come from more lunch time or creative writing classes. I certainly don’t think a few extra exams for a kid who doesn’t need to take them will hurt his or her potential. It’s a small price to pay to help others who need that in their lives.
[Via the NY Post]