John King, who served as Secretary of Education after Arne Duncan departed, went to the Cleveland City Club to praise high-stakes testing as the route to equity and civil rights. He spoke highly of No Child Left Behind and its successor, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

He is so wrong. Not just wrong, but misinformed, misguided, and ignorant of facts and evidence about the injurious effects of high-stakes testing on children, teachers, schools, and education. When you read things like this, you remember how the Obama administration sold public education out and paved the way for Betsy DeVos.

All that testing, he said, raises test scores.

Clearly, he never read the report of the National Academy of Sciences (2011) “Incentives and Test-Based Accountability in Education.”

I recommend that King read Daniel Koretz’ new book: “The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better.” Koretz shows that high-stakes testing produces score inflation, teaching to the test, cheating, and loss of instructional time for non-tested subjects.

Someone should explain Campbell’s Law to John King. Whenever high stakes are attached to a measure, it corrupts the measure as well as the social process that is being measured. That means that when you attach high stakes to tests, you can no longer trust the test results and you mess up what is being measured.

Tests are normed on a bell curve. Every bell curve has a top half and a bottom half. The most advantaged kids cluster in the top half. The most disadvantaged kids cluster in the bottom half. Could someone explain to John King that standardized tests never produce equity? That they measure gaps without reducing them? That they discourage children who are told year after year that they didn’t meet the standard? How does it promote equity to rely on a tool that is designed to measure and reproduce inequity?