Self-Proclaimed Experts

Every day, I open my mailbox to about a dozen news briefs from various groups. I was excited when I read a headline from the Association for the Supervision of Curriculum Development’s daily Smart Brief: “How Standardized Tests Can Be Made More Meaningful.”

Unfortunately, not helpful. At all.

As usual, it was a ridiculous article written by a SPE (Self-Proclaimed Expert).

One of the problems with non-educators—and those who teach for two years, quit, and declare themselves experts—is that they have simplistic answers to complex questions. Here are this woman’s answers:

Are you concerned that because many tests cover only math and reading, schools will pay too little attention to science and history? Then let’s make schools accountable for their science and history test scores rather than just math and reading Are you worried that teachers are focusing on test-taking strategies instead of the concrete math and reading skills that students will need in the real world? Then ask rigorous questions that reflect the kinds of skills that allow students to succeed on their paths to becoming doctors, construction workers or computer scientists.

You’ve got to be kidding me…the answer to too much testing is…more tests.

Science Tests (High Stakes)

Social Studies Tests (High Stakes)

Smaller Tests (High Stakes)

Testing More Often (High Stakes)

Harder Tests (High Stakes)

Teacher Evaluations Based on These (High Stakes)

Of course, nobody wins here. We just find more ways to close schools. HUNDREDS more ways. We ask much harder questions in a whole bunch of different subjects. When kids don’t get them right, we close the school and fire the teachers.

Oh, by the way. Here’s the author’s bio:

Miki Litmanovitz was a member of the Teach for America program, in which she taught middle-school math at a low-income school in San Jose. She is completing master’s degrees at Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she is a Zuckerman Fellow through the Center for Public Leadership.

Hey, she doesn’t have to live with it. She quit. Perhaps she’ll write a book now. Or film a documentary.

 It’s just like they say: the further you are from a problem, the more expertise you think you have.


About Paul T. Henley, Ph. D.
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