The school testing opt-out movement is not an anti-testing phenomenon.
It has nothing to do with being for or against testing. Opting out is simply an act of civil disobedience that targets test-and-punish “accountability” scams that have 1) siphoned off billions of dollars from public schools, 2) set in motion a new wave of racial and economic segregation, and 3) denied a rich and equitable education for the least among us.
Yes, opting out is against “accountability.” Why? Because accountability was never and will never be about ensuring that the least among us get the education they deserve. Instead, test-and-punish accountability will always be used as a weapon of blame that demeans, teachers, principals, and public schools for the opportunities our society fails to provide for all of our children. Accountability is a massive misdirection away from the real causes of poor educational outcomes for our most vulnerable students.
If anti-opt-out accountability hawks really cared about the education of our most vulnerable populations of children, they would simply look at their own data and see that the achievement gap between suburban whites and urban people of color has not moved in the last 30 years. The data proves that accountability doesn’t do a thing other than perpetuate the failing schools narrative. Accountability simply sends scarce resources to testing companies to keep telling us what we already know: The achievement gap is actually an opportunity gap.
We need to focus on such social gaps and the dismantling of public education in America, instead of obsessing about testing.
Tim Slekar is the dean of the School of Education at Edgewood College in Madison, Wis. He blogs about education issues at bustedpencils.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright Tim Slekar