Creative Classrooms Still Possible in Age of Standards and Testing

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To the Editor:

Teachers have been quitting the profession, saying that the testing regime is crowding out the joy of learning and suffocating classroom creativity and innovation.

How can we prevent talented and dedicated educators from leaving the profession? We need to bring back the creativity and flexibility that has been lost in a single-minded race toward higher standardized-test scores.

For 10 years, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills has built partnerships between states, educators, businesses, and nonprofits. Together, we outlined the essential skills, knowledge, and support systems necessary for a well-rounded, rigorous, and relevant education for all students.

With the P21 Framework, it is possible to elevate creativity and flexibility in the classroom while helping prepare students for assessments, as well as their future roles as lifelong learners, workers, and citizens. And it is possible to do so while connecting to the Common Core State Standards and next-generation assessments. It's not one more thing to teach. It's how you teach.

We know that accountability and assessments are important, and we know that there are better ways to measure student learning and teacher effectiveness than relying solely on standardized tests.

We can't afford to lose even a single great teacher, and we can't afford not to prepare students for the world they'll inherit and inhabit.

Steve Paine
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Washington, D.C.
Frank Gallagher
Executive Director
Cable in the Classroom
Chairman of the Board
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
Washington, D.C.

Vol. 32, Issue 37, Page 32

Published in Print: August 7, 2013, as Creative Classrooms Still Possible in Age of Standards and Testing
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