As I follow the education debates, I can’t help but believe that the pendulum is swinging back. It’s not a big movement yet. It’s a lot of small things. But that is how the pendulum swing changes.

What are the small things?

  • Chicago teachers strike over high stakes testing and school closings
  • The faculty of a Seattle high school refuse to administer a high stakes test that has a large margin of error
  • At a recent legislative hearing, Paterson parents applaud an legislator [who is also a teacher] who discusses how good scores on reading tests don’t mean that students actually read with comprehension
  • A Paterson parent stands up at the school board workshop to complain about testing reducing actual instruction
  • A highly repected school reform organization looks for a “Fourth Way” to balance testing with support and capacity building for students and teachers.

Taken individually these don’t mean that the era of high stakes testing is over, but it does signal a discussion that is long overdue. After all, when was the last time you were evaluated by a bubble test?