School Testers Earn an F


In the 1920s, the results of IQ tests given in English were used by eugenicists to argue that immigrants from southern and eastern Europe were genetically less intelligent than native-born Americans, and therefore should have their numbers cut in accord with such “scientific” thinking. The use of standardized test scores to evaluate “school performance” is a similar form of statistical fraud. Some of those pushing the mass testing initiative call themselves conservatives. Yet their methodology in setting collective quotas for educational performance and severe collective punishments for those who fail to meet them is more reminiscent of something out of a Stalinist five year plan than anything in the true American tradition.

Instead of terrorizing schools with punitive, time-devouring tests we should be trying to help them. The vast sums now being wasted nationwide on the Bush-Obama federally mandated mass testing programs and their accompanying armies of whip-snapping bureaucrats and overpaid bandit consultants could be better spent on initiatives that actually contribute to education. Instead of being drilled into dullness to meet the quotas of educational commissars, students need to have their minds enlivened with science fairs and Shakespeare fairs, history reenactments, and  debates on great issues.

America's schools have many problems. The government could help them a lot - by enacting policies that encourage economic growth and opportunity, and thereby incentivize learning. But the last thing they need is a bureaucratic inquisition that drives away talent, centralizes power, misappropriates resources, punishes dedication, suppresses initiative, narrows learning, and eliminates thought.