The use of standardized testing in government schools—as mandated by George W. Bush’s 2001 No Child Left Behind Act and supported by the Obama administration—has triggered “an expanding revolt against high-stakes standardized tests and the use of students’ scores to evaluate teachers, schools, districts and states,” writes Valerie Strauss for the Washington Post. Strauss reports that teachers at a Seattle "public" school have refused to administer state-mandated tests; parents around the country have disallowed their children from taking standardized tests; and "thousands of people have signed a national resolution protesting high-stakes tests."
The stakes for parents are high in this conflict, and their children's education is not their only concern. In New Jersey, as NorthJersey.com's Leslie Brody reports, "One parent [who boycotted standardized tests] said her district warned her last year that it might file truancy charges if her children were absent repeatedly on test days, but none was filed." As for teachers, their jobs could hinge on "drill-and-kill test prep" (also called "teaching to the test") rather than their ability to educate students.
Set aside the pros and cons of standardized testing as an evaluation tool. The fundamental question is: Why are politicians empowered to impose these tests in the first place? The reason is that government finances and thus controls the schools. . . .