The Washington Post has an opinion piece today by Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, defending the regime of standardized testing and high stakes that has created a vigorous opt-out movement among parents, teachers, and school board members.

This is actually a victory for the critics of high-stakes testing because it shows that those in power now find it necessary to defend their harmful policies.

And defend he does, with a varied assortment of cherry-picked and obsolete data.

He quotes Dan Ariely of Duke, for example, to defend the measurement-matters-most claim, but doesn’t realize that Ariely was a member of a panel at the National Research Council that issued a report critical of test-based accountability. In his writings, Ariely emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation, not rewards and punishments. He opposes merit pay. He said that test-based accountability fails because it treats people like “rats in a cage.”

Augustine chooses to cite the 2009 PISA test results but ignores the 2012 TIMSS results, where American students did very well indeed. In fact, eighth-grade black students in Massachusetts performed as well on TIMSS 2012 in math as students in high-performing Finland. But you won’t read that in Augustine’s column.

Why don’t American schools copy the examples of our own top-performing schools, like Sidwell Friends and Lakeside Academy and other elite schools that never give standardized tests? Or copy our top suburban schools where the tests are minimized, and all students have the arts, history, civics, physical education, foreign languages, experienced teachers, and small classes?