Letters to the Editor

Schools need good funding first, not more testing

The state Legislature contemplates amending current law to require that standardized (privatized) test scores determine if an educator is competent, and thus comply with federal law so we can get federal money. Please consider: in exchange for that money, the state (districts) must spend lots of money to employ Pierson testing to grade the tests (highly profitable for testing companies).

Our state schools have no say in the content or focus of these tests. It’s a hugely misguided assumption that privatized tests will be valid or research-driven with educator input. The No Child law sought to make schools appear to fail, then rush in with privatizing and vouchers as the “cure.”

As of 2014, 88 percent of our schools, thus teachers, were labeled “failing” because 100 percent of students couldn’t pass “the test.” Really? Would you remove a dentist’s license because 100 percent of patients weren’t cavity free?

Too many variables out of educators’ hands are at play. Studies show zip codes are the single largest variable in student success. Schools with high poverty, and other demographic factors, will clearly not hit 100 percent of one-size-fits-all standards. We should be asking, “did kids progress?” – and be aware that if an educator’s certification depends in large measure on arbitrary, corporate-generated tests, then there will be few willing to teach in high-needs schools.

Join our teachers in trying to inform the Legislature that adopting federal policy in this case is wrong. Better funding first; not more testing.

Gery Gerst

Olympia

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