Thursday, September 21, 2006

We're Facing A National Test

A few weeks ago I blogged about a new Fordham study outlining four ways to achieve a national test. Yesterday, I wrote about how our state is using the ACT with a Work Keys component as their state exam and how this will affect homeschoolers. A handful of other states are also using the ACT. I predict that it's just a matter of time before the two meet, a national test and the ACT. If enough states adopt the ACT we will have a defacto national exam. The current dilemma homeschoolers face in Michigan will be faced by ALL homeschoolers around the nation. Sadly, some conservatives who fight government control in other areas, welcome the move toward a national exam and federal control with open arms.

In the Washington Post today, former education secretaries William Bennett and Rod Paige added their voices to the growing chorus for national standards and a national test.

Washington should set sound national academic standards and administer a high-quality national test. Publicize everybody's results, right down to the school level. Then Washington should butt out.

Greater federal interference is not the answer -- but neither is a naive commitment to "states' rights." A new model -- standards set nationally, daily decisions made locally -- strikes the best balance.

That's like me telling my children what's for dinner, but letting them decide which fork to use to eat it. That's what these politicians consider striking a "balance". And make no mistake about it, Washington has no intention of "butting out" once the standards are in place. Bennett and Paige readily admit that the Consitution says nothing about education, leaving it to the states to decide such matters. I'm sure they have read the tenth ammendment which says,

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
But who needs Constitutional authority when there's a national "crisis". The sad thing is, government meddling is what got us into this mess, and now they think more meddling at a higher level will get us out? But to them, anyone who can't see the wisdom in a federal/state partnership in education is just "naive".

Public school parents in my neighborhoood despise the emphasis placed on state testing. Teachers in the classroom don't want to test, they want to teach. It's time to do more than just vent to a neighbor or on a blog. Parents with children in the public schools don't have to pull their children out of school completely to make their voices heard. They just have to say "no" to government mandated testing. Call your children in sick during testing week. It's not a lie. You're sick of the government testing and tracking your children. Tell them your child has "Number 2 Flu". A national boycott of state standardized tests will grind this "reform" to a halt. It's time we collectively tell Washington, WE set the standard NOT the beauracrats in Washington.

The question is, do parents have the courage to tell government beauracrats to "butt out" now, not after a national test is a reality and we see the unintended consequences?

If Christian parents, whose children are still in the schools, are serious about reforming the public schools, this is where the rubber meets the road. Are you willing to let Washington "assess" what your children think? Are you willing to let Washington test and track your child from kindergarten through college and "profile" them for a job that meets the demands of the state and not their personal dreams? Are you willing to tell Washington who is really the one "naive" in their thinking?

This isn't just a homeschool issue. This is about where our country is headed. Will we remain the United States of America or become the United Socialists of America? The choice is up to us.

Others blogs worth reading on this issue,
The Cato Institute thinks this is a bad idea too. "What they're saying to states is this: why don't we replace those NCLB handcuffs - that you might slip out of anyway - with a nice new straightjacket."

Kay Brooks echos the call for local not federal control. "I would prefer a Tennessee legislature and local school boards that have backbone enough to tell the professional educators that what they're doing isn't good enough and we're going to try some real freedom and competition instead. chimes in here."

Related Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No comments: