I believe the growing fixation on high-stakes testing is damaging our public education system. It's time to make sure that teaching and learning—not testing—drive classroom instruction so that we can give all children the rich, meaningful public education they deserve.
Appropriate assessments are an integral part of a high-quality education system. But an accountability system obsessed with measuring, which punishes teachers and schools, comes at a huge cost. Vital parts of the curriculum—arts, music and physical education, to name a few—are being shortchanged or abandoned because they are not subject to testing. Teachers have been forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, at the expense of more engaging instruction. As a result, our students aren't getting the opportunities they need to learn how to think critically and creatively, which is essential to a 21st-century education.
I am concerned that high-stakes testing is undermining our students' educational opportunities. And I am concerned it is limiting our teachers' ability to teach; many are leaving the profession as a result. I stand with the educators, parents, students and other concerned citizens who are working to restore teaching and learning to its proper role at the forefront of the education process. I believe that learning is more than a test score.