Karen Klein, who writes editorials for the Los Angeles Times about education (and other topics), told her 16-year-old daughter she could opt out.
Like many other parents, Klein reached the breaking point where the tests didn’t make sense any more. After years of complying with the testing regime, she realized that this test was pointless. She even envied home-schoolers, who could take their children on field trips and explore what interested them. Imagine that!
Most touching was her story about the teacher who offered poetry teas. By the time her child was old enough to take the class, the poetry teas had disappeared. Test prep.
And then there was this event: “After one of the earlier versions gave a low score to my eldest on reading comprehension, my husband and I shrugged and knew there had to be something wrong with the test. That’s the daughter who is now finishing off her dissertation for a doctorate in literature.
The Los Angeles Times has been a reliable supporter of the new era of corporate reform, with occasional deviations (I recall an editorial scoffing at the parent trigger).
High-stakes testing is one of the Golden Calves of the Corporate Reform movement.
Karen Klein’s defection, rooted in her experience as a parent, not a think tank ideologue, suggests that there is hope for the future, that the patina of certitude attached to the standardized testing regime may in time crumble as more parents realize how flawed, how subjective, and how limited these tests really are.
She says, “Take that, world of Scantron.”
We say, “Right on. Welcome to the fight against the status quo. If it’s right for your child to opt out, it’s right for other people’s children.