03/07/14 — Testing right: Weakening the scales doesn't serve purpose

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Testing right: Weakening the scales doesn't serve purpose

When you draw a line in the sand, it only works if you are willing to uphold the consequences should someone decide to cross it.

Therefore, if you devise a rule that requires students to pass a test before they proceed to the next grade level -- and then you alter the requirements to pass -- what have you really accomplished?

There is reason to be leery of the new standardized testing rules for North Carolina third-graders. No one is really sure that the pronouncement by the state's Republican legislature is really going to accomplish anything.

But it really won't if it is a formless blob of goo that has no boundaries and no substance.

So, it is time to choose. Choice A: Stick with the rules and see what happens. Choice B: Dump them and start over.

It is as simple as that.

But as the state's leaders and education officials try to decide which path to follow, there is a warning to be heeded here.

Preparing our students to be the best they can be and to survive in an increasingly competitive job market is Job 1.

The problem the new rules and tests were created to solve still exists -- too many children are leaving high school without the reading skills they need.

Addressing that challenge -- and figuring out what will really solve the problem -- should be the focus of the next summit, debate or discussion.

And that discussion should be had absent politics, spin for the cameras and that progress-killing disease 'it wasn't my idea'-itis.

That is the bottom line.

Published in Editorials on March 7, 2014 10:48 AM