In D.C., standardized tests take a toll on learning

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red flags should have gone up for every D.C. parent who read the July 14 front-page article "A mixed bag for District schools," which reported that "field trips are canceled" and regular instruction is curtailed to provide more preparation time for standardized tests. Field trips -- when done right -- expose students to the real world and the career opportunities that a good education can provide. By eliminating field trips and curtailing regular class instruction, we are letting our representatives -- namely D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee -- use our children as political pawns. High scores on D.C. standardized tests don't help our children; they help our politicians' campaigns. Children need to want to learn, and they need to think about the world creatively; standardized tests will meet neither of those needs.

If we put more energy and resources into motivating our children and less into evaluating and measuring them, graduation rates would rise, more students would attend college, and the economy would grow stronger -- indicators far more meaningful than the numbers spewed out by standardized tests.

Max Harwood, Bethesda

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