National Test is the Wrong Answer for Schools
Letter to the Editor
The Washington Post
September 29, 2006
(In response to September 21, 2006 op-ed column, "Why We Need a National School Test", by two former U.S. Secretaries of Education).
William J. Bennett and Rod Paige have it partially right. Many
states have responded to the No Child Left Behind Act by establishing
low academic standards and then manipulating them to minimize the
number of students who appear to be failing.
However, the solution that Mr. Bennett and Mr. Paige propose --
national tests and standards -- would not significantly advance
their important goal of "assuring America a more well-educated population."
As the National Assessment of Educational Progress statistics that
they cite demonstrate, we already have a test that shows how students
in different states are actually doing.
Instead of a new test, what is needed is for the federal government
to lead states and school districts to implement those educational
policies that research and experience show are necessary to dramatically
improve the quality of learning, especially for poor and minority
Citizens for Effective Schools