No More Standard Tests
As a legislator and as a father of two New York City public school students, I am deeply troubled by last week's announcement by Chancellor Joel Klein that city public school students will take four to five additional tests per subject each year. Separate from the city's testing, the state gives annual exams to students in grades three through eight in order to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Law (NCLB). Our children do not need to spend more time preparing for and taking standardized tests.
The emphasis on testing is turning our schools into test-preparation factories that neglect physical education, art, music, and science in favor of rote test-preparation drills. New York City's children are going to school in the cultural capital of the world, and focusing on test preparation limits opportunities for exploring the rich art, music and civic experiences that the city offers. The narrow focus on specific test subject matter denies students access to a broader curriculum. Today's classrooms rarely devote time to current events, yet we expect the next generation to understand an ever-changing world and to grapple with the weighty issues of our era. Education should help our children to become informed citizens, dynamic leaders and well-rounded individuals, not test-taking robots.
The city's plan for more testing is a step in the wrong direction. Let's aim for a comprehensive approach to academic assessment. Schools should use a variety of tools, including tests, writing samples, and teacherdesigned evaluations, to assess student achievement. More testing does not mean more learning; on the contrary, it means less learning.
Mark S. Weprin
Member of Assembly
24th AD (Eastern Queens)