The school board of the Bedford Central School District in Westchester County, New York, voted a resolution against the over-use and misuse of standardized testing.
Will the Bedford resolution incite other districts to reject the heavy-handed mandates from Albany and Washington?
The board’s resolution criticized both the state and federal governments for its mandates and specifically opposed the use of test scores to evaluate teachers, a main feature of Race to the Top that is much admired by state commissioner John King.
According to the linked article, the district’s statement said, “Not to be confused with routine authentic assessments of student projects and work, grades, and routine quizzes and teacher developed tests; the resolution notes the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused collateral damage in schools by narrowing curriculum, teaching driven by testing, reducing a love of learning, and undermining school climate.”
“The resolution, the statement continued, criticizes the testing system for diverting time and energy, and serving to curtail critical thinking and problem solving skills.
“For school board members, the reliance of tests feels less like an attempt to better the lives of kids and more like an intrusion from outsiders who are detatched from what goes on locally.
Board member Suzanne Grant called it “yet another mandate,” and noted that it has come from policy makers at the state and federal levels…….
“A survey of district residents done last fall for the district shows numbers that align with the board’s concerns, with support measured by how many people deemed an assessment to be very or moderately valuable. In the survey, 92 percent rated student essays, projects and experiments as such; 89 percent for teacher-designed tests; 76 percent for homework that was graded; just 64 percent felt the same way for standardized tests.”