Sandra Stotsky was responsible for the development of standards, assessments, and teacher tests when she was an official in the Massachusetts Department of Education in the 1990s. She has since become an outspoken critic of the Common Core standards.


In this article, she argues that parents should ignore attempts to bully them into taking the state tests. She says that opting out of mandated tests is a civic duty. I don’t agree with her that the money spent on the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act was wasted. In my book “Reign of Error,” I showed that there has been dramatic improvement in the scores of black and Hispanic students since the early 1970s, when the federal testing (National Assessment of Educational Progress) began. But I agree with Stotsky that the millions and billions spent on testing has been wasted.


She writes:


“If Common Core’s standards and tests are, as it is claimed, so much better than whatever schools were using before, why not use them only for low-achieving, low-income kids and let them catch up? Why can’t Congress amend ESSA to exempt students already at or above grade level in reading and mathematics and target ESSA funds to curriculum materials, teachers, and tests for just the kids who need a boost? That’s just the beginning. Maybe a different use of federal money is also needed.”



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