Yesterday I gleefully reported that Karen Klein, who writes editorials about education for the Los Angeles Times, had opted her own daughter out of the state test. The Los Angeles Times has supported most aspects of what is called “reform ,” so I was glad to see that Klein had realized how the current overuse of testing had undermined the love of learning , not only for her child, but for all children. Far be it from me to criticize anyone for changing their mind. Klein has a powerful role, and her epiphany could signify a recognition by the LA Times of the harm that standardized testing inflicts when allowed to become both the measure and the goal of education.

Robert Skeels was not so forgiving.

He writes:

“I’m glad that you’re sparing your own child the abject effects of this year’s test. However, I recall sitting across a table from you in early 2013 when you conducted the school board endorsement interviews and having to endure your scoffing at me for suggesting that we end the high-stakes standardized test regime for all students. Your exact words were “if we do that, we’d go back to the ‘Johnny Can’t Read’ days.” I remember how astonished I was that a professional journalist covering education could be so ignorant of pedagogy that they’d cite Flesch’s right-wing phonics garbage as their defense of the unholy policy trio of No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards.

“So don’t expect those of us who have been trying to defend all children from the effects of standardized tests—the worst of which robs them of that very fleeting joy of learning—to welcome you aboard. Unlike your offspring, privileged in every regard, there are countless other children who have had their opportunity to love learning stolen by mind numbing test preparation in the name of profits and propaganda.”

I understand Skeels’ anger. But I will welcome the repentant sinner into the fold with open arms if she does understand that her decision was not just about what’s best for her child but what’s best for all children. If her views change the LA Times’ editorial policy on high-stakes testing, then I count it as a signal victory for those who have fought this issue for many years, including Robert Skeels.

I know how hard it is to change sides, to admit error, to admit in public that you were wrong.

Those who oppose the current misuse of testing should seek more converts and welcome them with own arms.