Monday, October 23, 2006

Testing Becomes An Election Issue

"Couple years ago one of my sons brought this quiz home, and the first question was 'What does the FCAT stand for?' "I won't repeat to you what I said because I used words I'm teaching my boys not to use. . . . We're going to stop using the FCAT to punish children, teachers and schools." - Jim Davis, Democrat Candidate for Governor in Florida
According to the Washington Post, high-stakes testing is becoming a prominent issue in the Texas and Florida governors race this year.

While many past education debates have dissolved into intangible issues of school finance, the testing critics believe that the issue may sway larger numbers of voters because the tests are having such pronounced and immediate effects on children.

"When parents are dealing with children vomiting on the morning of the tests and seeing other signs of test stress, they're going to be motivated at the voting booth," said Gloria Pipkin, the president of a testing watchdog group, the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform.

"Texas and Florida are the poster children for excessive testing, and we're seeing an enormous backlash." "Our kids should be leading the world, and they're not going to get there by filling in little ovals all day long," Chris Bell, the Democratic challenger for Texas governor, says in a television ad.

I hope more candidates take note of this and begin to make it an issue in the future.

In Michigan, Republican challenger DickDeVos is silent on the testing issue. That's too bad, he's in a tight race and I think this is the type of issue that resonates with both Republican and Democrat parents. Jobs and education are the two biggest issue in our state. Exposing the way the state and federal government seek to use testing to "prepare for jobs in the global economy" would link the two very nicely.

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