School testing is an evolving nightmare

Oklahoman Published: April 27, 2014
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Years ago my children were tested in elementary school, once in the fall and once in the spring, about two hours each time. The tests were helpful. They showed us how children fared by subject matter in comparison with children across the country. It helped the schools identify areas needing improvement. It let parents know if their children needed extra help.

How has this aid to teachers, administrators and parents evolved into such a nightmare? Could it be that the millions of dollars at stake for testing corporations has resulted in their lobbyists invading the Legislature and state Department of Education? It’s time to stop listening to these so-called experts in accountability and start listening to the teachers who have the daily task of educating the children. If we must test, let’s return to using the results as a vehicle for identifying children’s needs to aid teachers, not punish them.

And more testing isn’t the answer. We’ve been quick to direct education dollars to testing, but not to classroom resources and teacher salaries. We all know that we’re at the bottom in education funding but we seem surprised that the schools are struggling. It’s time to step back from testing and put education dollars where they can do the most good -- in the classroom. Is this such a hard lesson for us to learn?

Patty Frakes, Oklahoma City