To the Editor:
The rifts described in the front-page article in the May 8 issue are obviously between adults and have little to do with children (“Rifts Deepen Over Direction of Education Policy in U.S.”).
This battle royal about testing, among other issues, brings to mind how a friend characterized it: “Traditional testing is an autopsy.” We are arguing about how and why, at the end of the school year, our children are subjected to tests that are supposed to determine the fate of the adults who teach them and affect their own learning experience.
That’s the way we’ve always done it, and that’s the hallmark of the accountability movement that was part of the No Child Left Behind Act—itself an attempt by the federal government to find out whether its Title I funds were actually being spent to help underserved students.
Wake up, people.
Incorporating technology as an integral part of the curriculum does away with the need for year-end, high-stakes testing. It gives students constant feedback, teachers daily opportunities to work on their students’ specific needs, and taxpayers a way not only to track performance but to help all students achieve their potential.
Instead of the investment of so much treasure by both sides in this emperor-has-no-clothes argument, America’s children would be much better served if the adults realized there is an outside-the-box 21st-century solution that’s just waiting to be implemented.
Jaquelin Hume Foundation
San Francisco, Calif.
The author is also chairman of the board of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, based in San Mateo, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the May 22, 2013 edition of Education Week as Technology Provides the Means For Rethinking Use of Testing