To the Editor:
I write in response to an article in your Quality Counts report titled “Offered Chance to Craft Tests, States Moving With Caution” (Jan. 4, 2017), which addresses the most significant issue leading to innovation in the history of education.
While many people talk as if changing the name or the owner of a school is “reform-minded,” the reality is that those actions are simply akin to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nothing changes.
However, true reform is on the horizon. As the article notes, shortly seven states will be accepted into a small group allowed to develop performance-based assessments as well as other innovative assessments in lieu of standardized tests.
Because assessment drives the curriculum, I believe that the system and philosophy of education would take a large step toward inclusion of critical and rational thinking if performance-based assessments became the norm. Schools would be acknowledging what a child can do, rather than what that child is able to mark with a No. 2 pencil.
It is time for states to step up and prepare for this dramatic innovation in education. I realize it may be the most difficult project some teachers have ever faced. But the results would be teachers taking back their profession and students finding their pathway to success.
It is time we protect our children from those monsters, ogres, and other politicians who are forcing our children into a tiny box full of word games and math riddles in pursuit of standardized learning. It is time to expect our children to think while it is still permissible to do so.
Eldon “Cap” Lee
A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2017 edition of Education Week as Performance-Based Assessments Bring True Reform to Schools