Steven Singer, a teacher and blogger in Pennsylvania, takes on the myth that high-stakes testing is a civil rights issue. It is curious that this myth gained any traction, because civil rights groups used to sue to block high-stakes tests because they violated the rights of black children. They argued that the tests were biased and unfair. They argued that it was wrong to label children with such tests.

He writes:

“Standardized testing has never been shown to adequately gauge what students know, especially if the skills being assessed are complex. The only correlation that has been demonstrated consistently is between high test scores and parental wealth. In general, rich kids score well on standardized tests. Poor kids do not.

“Therefore, it is absurd to demand high stakes standardized testing as a means of ensuring students’ civil rights.

“Judging kids based on these sorts of assessments is not the utopia of which Dr. King dreamed. We are not judging them by the content of their character. We’re judging them by the contents of their parents bank accounts.

“There are real things we could be doing to realize racial and economic equality. We could do something about crippling generational poverty that grips more than half of public school students throughout the country. We could be taking steps to stop the worsening segregation of our schools that allows the effects of test-based accountability to disproportionately strike schools serving mostly students of color. We could invest in our neediest children (many of whom are minorities) to provide nutrition, tutoring, counseling, wrap around services, smaller class sizes, and a diverse curriculum including arts and humanities.”