From a reader:

Journalists do not really seem to understand the gravity of what is happening to education in the United States. There is a reason that highly educated parents are opting their children out of standardized tests. It is a scary time to be a teacher and an even scarier time to raise a child.

Since 1997, the testing market in the United States has grown 835%, or roughly 14% annually, from $263 million to over $2.46 billion. That’s nearly double the annual rate of return of the S&P 500. A lot of people have made a lot of money off of the test-based accountability movement and a lot of corporations now have a lot to lose. Corporations and politicians promised us a lot when they seized control of the nation’s education policy and enacted No Child Left Behind in 2002.

Since then, the rate of growth in NAEP scores has declined, SAT scores have declined, ACT scores have remained flat, and PISA scores have declined.

As if that wasn’t enough, politicians and their corporate backers doubled down on the dismantling of public education by withholding funding, taking over school districts, and threatening to close down schools. In Washington D.C., after linking 50% of teacher evaluations to standardized test scores, teacher turnover increased to 82%, schools in communities with high poverty rates showed large or moderate declines in student learning outcomes, and the combined poverty gap expanded by 44 scale-score points causing poor students to fall even further behind their more affluent peers.

Realizing the calamity of these reform efforts, the American Statistical Association, the National Academy of Education, the American Educational Research Association, the Economic Policy Institute, and educators throughout the country issued statements urging policymakers to reconsider the use of high-stakes tests which have robbed teachers of their autonomy and forced hundreds of hours of test prep on our students.

While some states have responded to limit the stakes until more is known about the validity and reliability of the assessments, officials in New York State continue to press forward.

It is long past time to acknowledge that the high-stakes accountability movement has failed our children. We must hold politicians responsible for withholding funding from our public schools and allowing poverty to wreak havoc on our education system. The United States now has its highest level of income inequality since 1928. Yet when you control for poverty, we have the best PISA scores in the world.

Our schools are not failing our children, our politicians are. It takes a real hero to ignore the impact of poverty and threaten to punch teachers in the face. But parents can see right through the lies, the decept, and the corruption. In 2016, opt out rates will double and this grass-roots parent movement will ensure that the American Dream is not permitted to skip a generation.