Kill the Messenger: The War on Standardized Testing

If standardized testing is such a valuable tool for school improvement, why do so many educators oppose it? The key difference is one of perspective.  Parents, policymakers, and the consuming public view public education as a human development resource. Their top priority is literacy, numeracy, and the other educational outcomes that prepare youth to be productive members of adult society. Educators want these same outcomes but consider a broad range of other objectives to be of equal or … Read More

Other Recommended Reading

Selections that we’ve highlighted over the years. Is Teaching to the Test a Problem? It Depends… Richard Phelps, author of the classic Kill the Messenger:  The War on Standardized Testing, has written an article featured in the Autumn 2011 issue of the Wilson Quarterly. Among other things, he notes that “most of the problems with testing have one surprising source: cheating by school administrators and teachers.” Click here for more.   Test, Testing, and Genuine School Reform In this 2011 book, … Read More

Aligning Teacher Training with Public Policy

posted in: Briefings & Reports

by J. E. Stone Stone, J. E. (2000). Aligning teacher training with public policy. The State Education Standard, 1(1), 35-38.   The American Council on Education (ACE) recently issued a report calling for colleges and universities to either embrace independent assessment of the quality of their teacher education programs or to close them.[1] The Council, which represents American colleges and universities, fears that the weak academic standards maintained by teacher education programs will damage the reputations of their … Read More

Parents and School

The 150-Year Struggle for Control in American Education The following material was excerpted from Chapter 2. Parents and Schools is not available online.   The Peripheral Parent: Making the Most of Marginality In the 1920S, there was widespread support in the United States for the idea that parents and teachers should work together. However, Americans were still uncertain about the nature and extent of this cooperation. It remained unclear to what degree parents should join in the education … Read More

The Impact of Funding Adequacy Litigation

posted in: Briefings & Reports

By Richard Phelps, Ph.D. Economist Education Consumers Consultants Network   As one may recall from history class, the U.S. constitution includes no mention of education. Therefore, as one may also recall from history class, that issue remains in the domain of our country’s original founding entities, the states. Most state constitutions do provide some general, vague guarantee for the public provision of education. But, most of these constitutions were written between the late 1700s and late 1800s, when … Read More

Court-Ordered Spending Brings More of the Same

posted in: Briefings & Reports

(click here for full article) (click here to download a PDF of this article) By Richard Phelps, Ph.D. Economist Education Consumers Consultants Network   Briefing Attorneys advocating increased public school spending for poor children spent years arguing an equity case. Their contention was that children in poor communities are treated inequitably because the tax base generates inadequate school funding–a violation of the equal-protection provisions in some state constitutions. But state judges typically found no language requiring equity and … Read More

Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Educational Testing Programs

posted in: Briefings & Reports

(click here for full article) (click here to download a PDF of this article) By Richard Phelps, Ph.D. Economist Education Consumers Consultants Network   Briefing The Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act requires annual testing in grades 3-8, so now there is a huge controversy about how much all of that testing will cost. Some studies estimate costs of nearly $1800 per student and others are in the $10 to $25 range. Talk about differences of opinion! … Read More

Private Sector Alternatives for Preventing Reading Failure

Groff, P.  (1987).  Private sector alternatives for preventing reading failure, Washington, DC:  National Advisory Council on Educational Research and Improvement. Editor’s note:  Chapters IV-VI contain outdated names, addresses, and references, and therefore were omitted _________________ A directory of national organizations providing a rationale for their need;  An assessment of the professional training they provide for prospective or inservice teachers of reading By Patrick Groff, Professor of Education San Diego State University   I. Introduction The major purpose of … Read More

The Evolution of the New American Schools

The Evolution of the New American Schools: From Revolution to Mainstream (click here for full article) (Click here to download the PDF of this article) By Jeffery Mirel, Ph.D. School of Education University of Michigan   Briefing What are the “New American Schools?” Unfortunately they are the latest educational reform to be identified as a failure. A variety of factors played a role in their demise, but the most obvious problem was their reliance on the “progressive” vision … Read More

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