We think that Common Standards and Assessments are the antithesis of the progressive values upon which this nation was founded. The idea of having a single set of standards and associated assessments appears to remove individuality, creativity and innovation from American classrooms.
Authoritarian & Undemocratic
Common standards and assessments were conceived and developed in an undemocratic and authoritarian manner, and have minimized our freedom to have an education system that empowers its citizens to a life that is rooted in progressive ideals. Instead we have enabled conservative thinking and conservative think tanks, acting in their own self interests, and those of their corporate partners, especially publishers and testing companies, to take over pubic education and open it to for-profit corporations and privatization.
The danger of privatization is that the profit motive might replace the moral mission of educating all children. Schools may not accept students who might affect their bottom line which making sure students achieve high test scores. Profit is tied directly to test scores. How can we authentically believe that an education system that uses student test scores is good for its citizens? Not only are test scores used to assess student performance, they are also being used to evaluate teacher, administrator and school performances. In some states, teacher’s job performance and pay will be determined using VAM scores, which have been shown to be unreliable.
Teaching is so much more than teaching to the test in order to amp achievement scores. It is about establishing ethical and moral relationships with our students; it is about helping student learn how to learn; it is about caring for student’s aspirations and goals, and giving counsel as needed. Yes, teachers want their students to understand the content of their courses, but not at the expense of life long affects of their courses including attitudes and values.
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