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posted: 12/11/2013 5:00 AM

Test scores don't tell the whole story

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The modest gains revealed by the Nov. 7 release of this year's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicate that the current test-based, austerity-driven education environment promoted by the Obama administration not only has failed to provide the support that all children, and especially poor children, need to reach their full potential, but also failed to provide requisite support for teachers who are often relatively low paid, not treated as professionals, and effectively forced to raise test scores by teaching to the test. As a consequence, we are losing good teachers.

On the latter point, a must read for current and future K-12 administrators as we as for concerned parents, state and Department of Education officials, is the Oct. 18 Atlantic Monthly magazine story, "Why Do Teachers Quit? -- And Why Do They Stay?" by Liz Riggs.

The views on NAEP test-scores by the highly regarded education historian Diane Ravitch can be found on her blog titled "NAEP Nonsense: Don't Believe the Hype" and in her recent book "Reign of Error."

The stealthlike takeover approach to the commercialization of public education in America is somewhat akin to that used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to commercialize big-time collegiate athletics.

In any case, the nation is still at risk with its future socioeconomic well-being in dire jeopardy. Hyperpartisanship and government dysfunction looms large in Washington while the American public is distracted from K-12 and postsecondary education issues by the circuses orchestrated by NCAA ringmasters.

Frank G. Splitt

Mount Prospect

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