As readers are aware, Congress is considering reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which should have been reauthorized in 2007. One of the most contentious issues is whether to retain or modify the federal mandate for annual testing. Some have proposed grade-span testing as an alternative, since annual testing has caused some schools to spend a disproportionate amount of time on test preparation. Some would like to see the federal trying mandate eliminated altogether, with federal money used for equity rather than standardized testing (I’m in the third camp but would find grade span testing an improvement over annual testing).

Recently a dozen civil rights groups released a statement criticizing parents who opt out of annual testing. The Network for Public Education responded in disagreement in a statement written by teacher Jesse Hagopian and the NPE board. Mark Tucker wrote a post disagreeing with the civil rights groups, saying there was no evidence that annual testing helps poor and minority children and some evidence that it harms them by narrowing the curriculum to test prep.

Kati Haycock, leader of pro-testing Education Trust (which helped to draft NCLB), responded angrily to Tucker.

Here, Mercedes Schneider challenges Haycock for her defense of annual testing. Schneider says that Haycock failed to refute Tucker’s evidence and instead went on a rant.

Schneider writes;

“In her June 4, 2015, Education Post rebuttal, Haycock jumps out of her daytime-TV chair, knocking it back as she rushes forward to get in Tucker’s face while declaring that she, “even a white girl,” can register what is Tucker’s obvious insult: That the civil rights community could possibly be injuring children by insisting upon annual standardized testing.

“No such drama was necessary. All Haycock had to do was refute Tucker’s evidence.

“She did not.

“Instead, she goes on to write (in the $12 million, Walton-Broad-Bloomberg-funded, corporate-reform Education Post) that she– the white girl– is there to call Tucker out on behalf of a group of 12 civil rights organizations that she admittedly did not join with in their May 5, 2015, formal declaration against opting out.”

Watch and read the verbal fisticuffs. It might be funny if it were not so sad. The evidence matters.

PS: Marc Tucker responds:

“Tucker told Morning Education that Haycock is “just plain wrong.” The civil rights community is not as united on testing as many think it is, he said, citing a recent op-ed []. “I actually laughed when I saw it, to tell you the truth,” Tucker said. “What’s important to me here is not overriding the civil rights community, but persuading people in it that they have misread the situation.”