Stop the Standardized Test Tyranny

Standardized testing is a poor way to judge how well schools educate their students. Pro or con?

Pro: An Overhyped Snapshot

Here’s an idea. Rather than analyze student GPAs to track long-term performance, let’s create a set of standardized tests and hinge school budgets on how well their pupils do. What if Johnny or Suzie has a bad day and doesn’t answer enough questions correctly? Well, we’ll just cut the school’s funding. That’ll improve education standards in this country.

Or maybe not. Standardized tests like the ones developed on a state-by-state basis under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), are random snapshots that evaluate every student based on the same set of criteria. That may be fine for inspecting machines, but humans excel in different things and have different talents. A generic test is no substitute for looking at the overall academic accomplishments of a student.

Even worse, hinging the fate of the school and staff salaries on the results of these generic tests gives teachers a strong incentive to just teach the test and sacrifice classes that could help their pupils figure out their talents and what they want to study in college. So not only do students end up just studying a test during their education, but their results are not a good measure of their abilities since they’re being specifically coached. It also invites cheating on the part of teachers and unsavory moves by administrators such as pushing out underachieving students to raise their schools’ average scores.

Finally, it’s much more likely that underfunded schools lacking in teachers and textbooks will be the ones scoring lowest. They already don’t have the money to teach, and now they’ll have even less. While we leave no child behind on paper, we’re wreaking havoc on the education system with our misplaced trust in standardized testing.

Con: Perpetuating an Unfair Cycle

By the time students graduate from schools and go on to post-secondary education, we expect them to know certain basics. They need to be able to answer math, reading comprehension, writing, and general science questions at a certain grade level, or the school did a substandard job of educating them. While GPAs are important criteria for measuring long-term academic achievement, they can’t tell us how well students know the basics required or if they will perform well in colleges and at any job without having to take remedial classes to catch up to other students.

If schools decide to teach the test instead of letting students explore their options and talents, it should be taken as a sign that the district has made a choice to adhere to a different set of priorities than those of both students and parents. A teach-the-test policy is a red flag for a potential problem since there’s no reason the basics being measured on the test can’t be learned in parallel with pupils’ self-exploration. In this case, standardized tests help figure out whether the schools are effectively teaching the knowledge they’re required to impart to their students.

It’s true that already underfunded schools will have a higher likelihood of failing the test, and it seems cruel to cut funding to a struggling district. However, when administrators are reminded that the survival of the school depends on their ability to make sure children are getting a good education that will be a firm foundation for their later academic and career achievements, they’ll be more persuaded to focus all their efforts on making sure that students know the basics. Giving them even more money without any sign of improvement just lets them know that it’s okay if they fail to do their duty—they will get their cash anyway.—G.F.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek.com Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

Greg

What if you found out your heart surgeon did not need to take any standardized tests to get his medical degree? What if your child's math teacher didn't need to take any standardized math test to get his job? What if your accountant didn't need to take any standardized tests to get her job and now thinks she's ready to do your IRS taxes?

sue

As recently reported by a poet and storyteller who works in schools, even kids in low-achieving schools can produce great work if they are allowed to be creative. The problem with strictly test-oriented teaching is that it gives already academically challenged kids less reason to care about school. Kids need something more than rote memorization to motivate them.

Clyde

The problem with schools is we have totally distorted the system. We have no free market choice among what schools we send our kids to. Why can't I choose the best school for my child's unique skills? Why must my school district dictate to me what and where my child can go? Why can't I make a choice with my child's attendance and school tuition (also known as school property taxes).

Teachers have no ability to manage their classrooms, because some students may become offended or suffer a traumatic experience because someone was rated higher than them...or require them to behave and treat others with respect.

Administrators cannot administrate. They cannot reprimand, set expectations, or heaven forbid, fire bad teachers without consulting a union. And what is this tenure crap? Why do they deserve a "job for life"? I sure don't have one, so why should I pay for someone else to have one?

We have distorted the system so it will never work. Let's get the foxes out of the hen house and let parents manage their kids' education. And if they don't, well I guess the kids will have to work and go to night school when they get older like I did.

anantio bayuardi

Each person is unique. Each person has her own strength. Let's respect that. Let's appreciate the differences that contribute to better humanity.

Rob

The standardized testing and No Child Left Behind act have provided nothing but bad results. This is not a subject of debate; it is a fact. The scores continue to drop. Our students are falling further behind in the world, and the trend is undeniable. Teachers are no longer free to "teach." They have to put out information in a prescribed manner or lose their jobs. The days of actual learning and creative thinking have been crushed. The results are so bad that one could imagine that dumbing down our students is the aim of the government.

MF

@ Greg
What if everyone on Wall Street didn't have to spend years in school taking standardized tests to get their jobs? Oh wait, we already know the answer to this one.

jamie wynn

Standardized testing should be something that you have to pass to get out of school. I say this because if this is something you have to pass, most students would not pass--not because they're not smart but just because they aren't good at taking test. So I strongly agree that they should take standardized testing out.

James

The only way to fix this system is to let it fix itself via competition. Instead of forcing children to a particular public school each child should be granted a credit to go to any school the parent sees fit. While a lot of parents can't afford to tote the entire cost of a privatized education they could meet a partial payment much more easily. Schools would inevitably offer full/partial scholarships for underprivileged children who excel scholastically. The infrastructure would need to develop slowly though as this is a radical change. Start by offering the credit to students at those schools that score the lowest and just convert one or two schools at a time. Teachers will have more flexibility with their curriculum and better student to teacher ratios by default. The best teaching programs will eventually prevail and education will evolve instead of regressing as it is currently.

Sid

Countries like India and China have standardized test for 10th and 12th grade students. For other grades, they have local school testing.

There should be some local level testing; otherwise parents will not know where their kids stand.

Our kids have to compete globally, and we all know that China and India are churning out more engineers than we do.

Dave Mellott

With all due respect, test scores have fallen not because we are testing more, but because there has been a huge influx of students from the "left side" of the bell curve, thus skewing the results downward. Let me see if I get this right--we have a problem with standardized testing, which is carefully designed to measure competence in reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas--don't blame the bow if the arrow is shot poorly. Smart teachers all know the old adage--you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. We need testing to determine what the students are not learning and when--maybe this can be remedied, but you need to look at the changing demographics of schools, not testing.

Frank

So, as a nation we spend more on education than any other and still get poor results when compared with other industrialized nations? (Finland is usually ranked #1.)

Why do we get such a poor return on investment? I guess you could start with family values, lack of discipline, drug culture, poor values and standards, underqualified math/science teachers, etc.

I would be in favor of national standards for the basics including math/science and a consistent way of measuring achievement. I don't see how that can be accomplished without some sort of standardized testing. That does not mean you must "teach" the test.

With grade inflation, GPS's are not very significant. College students expect B's for attending class (article in Washington Post earlier this week).

r herrmann

We brought over a student (from a sister company) who graduated from an engineering high school in China. He was given an aptitude test by a major engineering school to get an idea of how to place him. They put him in the master's program and he is only 18. Wake up, America.

Vocational School

It's time to expand trade and vocational school as another education path for those having trouble with academics. It's time to quit the mandatory academic public schooling for students who can't learn and teachers who can't teach. Teachers and students who find the standardized tests of NCLB an overwhelming task should not be in academics.

Loyd Eskildson

Would you purchase a ticket on an airplane, service from a health care provider, a car, or food that hadn't been tested? Why should purchasing education be any different?

jay kay

America has to compete globally, and students in the UK, India, China, Japan, and Singapore, which have the best schools, are required to take standardized tests covering a wide array of subjects. The tests change every year, and so does the curriculum, so there is no question of teaching to the test. Besides the basic curriculum, students can explore other avenues if they wish. American students have had a lower workload and lower expectations of them for a long, long time now. However, school funding should not be based on test results. School staff performance and compensation should be judged based on these tests. This may not be straightforward based on geographic location of schools; however, it can be done right.

luis

The only people who hate standardized tests are incompetent teachers and the unions who coddle these incompetent teachers. The standardized tests reveal how the failing schools continue to graduate students who cannot read or write, so they hate these. In this country, it is easy to find a tenured "expert" at a university who will corroborate anything you want. Also culpable are polititions who accept contributions from the teachers and their unions to perpetuate the status quo.

vamsi

Hi, I am a teacher working in India. I have been closely observing trends in school education over the past 10 years. I feel that the way we see at education sector must be altered.

Why education? Because the industry needs an educated workforce. Then why doesn't the industry takes a serious look at the education sector and actively participate in it? Because industry (for that matter, everybody) feels that it's the job of the government.

But the truth is that many branches of present day industries (banking, infrastructure, etc.) were considered to be the jobs of the government. What I mean to say is that converting education to one of the active business sectors will solve all the problems of our present conditions of in the education sector.

Zak

I don't get it, the previous debate had 160 comments, while this is at 16 (soon to be 17). Do people think CEOs' money is more important than their children's education/future or how it's determined? Don't judge our students based on their scores; judge the faculty/staff of the schools. But at the same time, don't judge the school funding off the results.

Norasusan

@luis
I always get a chuckle when I read or hear people like you blame the teachers for their students' failure because you and others like you are guilty of simplistic all or nothing thinking. There are many factors that contribute to student failure. One factor is constantly testing students' progress using standardized testing because "passing the test" becomes more important to school administrators than student learning. No student should have to study for a standardized test. No teacher should be forced to teach the test.

I believe that public schools need to go back to the 50s and 60s, when schools tracked students based upon academic ability. Standardized tests should be used only to group students into
classes. Tracking is used in Europe. I'm not certain about Japan, but I would guess that it is.

For instance, when I was in kindergarten, we took a standardized test. Then we were placed in our classes which were ranked Special A, A, B, and C. I was placed in the B group. My teacher must have seen that I was too advanced for the B group because I was placed in the A group in 2nd grade. As I remember, we took the Metropolitan Achievement Test in 4th, 8th, and 10th grades. In 4th grade, my reading level was above the 10th grade level and my math was at the 5th grade level, so I was moved to Special A for English, History, and French. I remained in A group for math and science. There was absolutely no preparation for the Metropolitan Achievement Tests. We just took them. In addition, no one prepared to take the SAT either. Again, we just took it.

Bottom line--students either knew the material in these tests, or they didn't. My teachers weren't handicapped by having to teach the test.

Are there some incompetent teachers? Absolutely. I missed U.S. history in 10th grade because my teacher was busy running his aluminum siding business from the classroom. We didn't open our textbooks all year. Every day, we watched a movie. I learned how Welch's processes grape juice, but I didn't learn anything about the Revolutionary War.

Are there more incompetent teachers today than there were in 1974 when I was graduated from high school. Again, absolutely. When I was in school, most of my teachers were women because teaching and nursing were the only professional fields that welcomed women. This means that nearly every teacher I had was smart, knowledgeable, motivated, and competent.

The public school system first began its downward spiral in the late 60s when some in the Dept. of Education stopped tracking students because it was unfair to students whose academic abilities were low.

Second, the women's movement began to open professions reserved mainly for men to women. Many bright, ambitious girls who would have become teachers, began to choose medicine, law, and business over teaching because it paid more money.

Third,the nuclear family began to disintegrate as divorce became socially acceptable and women joined the workforce either through choice or necessity, thereby leaving latchkey children who came home from school to empty houses in which there was no Mom to ensure homework was completed.

Finally, and I'm don't know how it evolved to the point it is at now, but it became increasingly difficult for schools and teachers to discipline students who acted out, were disrespectful, or refused to work.

So what are we left with today?
- Students who are lumped together irregardless of their academic ability.
- Good teachers who are forced by their administrators to teach the test or risk losing their jobs.
- Many more incompetent teachers whose sole reason for choosing teaching is because of the vacations and summers off. Most of these teacher don't mind teaching the test because it saves them work.
- Many, many parents who don't value education, who either don't care about their children's education.
- Many, many parents who jump down the teachers' throat because their darling child didn't get an A in English. It doesn't matter than Johnny is a slug who refuses to do the required work, or that Suzy is sleeping through class because she was out late partying, or that Mary didn't have time to do her homework because she was working at McDonalds the night before, or Sid whose main purpose in high school is a Division I university basketball scholarship, which he is certain will lead him to the NBA even though he can't read, write, or add a column of numbers. Oh yes, we can't forget Tommy who comes to school high when he does come at all. He disrupts the class, and when the teacher tells him to sit down and be quiet, he shouts at her to f--k off.

I taught English at several universities around the country, only 3 classes per semester because I have only a MA. Universities require a PhD to teach full-time. I wanted a full-time teaching job with benefits, so I decided to teach senior high school English. I lasted one semester. It was the worst experience of my life. There were 35 students in each class. All but a handful of the students in my classes were unruly, disrespectful, rude, unprepared, and most were functionally illiterate. The administrators cared only about the students passing the FCAT (Florida), so they would graduate. The FCAT tests students at the 6th grade level, and yet I had 18 and 19 year old students still in 10th grade English who hadn't passed the test. I spent the entire class time trying to keep order making it impossible to teach them anything. I would stay up until midnight designing assignments/activities that I hoped would capture their interest. Nothing worked. I quit because before I had a breakdown.

I am a great teacher, and I love to teach, but I will never enter a public school classroom again. I discovered that most of the good teachers leave for the same reasons I did. Most who stay don't care if the students learn or not, or they are near retirement and simply going through the motions.

The public school system is broken, and the fault lies with everyone of us. I suggest you read Benjamin Barber's article "America Skips School." It will open your eyes to enormity of the problem.

Norasusan

@Zak
It's because most Americans give only lip service to the public school meltdown. They don't really value education. I suggest you read Benjamin Barber's excellent article, "America Skips School." He does an outstanding job of presenting the problems public education faces and providing solutions to those problems.

Jim

Without some form of testing, how do you ascertain if a child is sufficiently skilled in the basics?

George

@MF,

You don't know the answer to this one.

You know the answer for the opposite statement of your question. But the reverse is not necessarily true.

Your logic fails, and probably you fail your school too.

T.M.Menon

I live in the State of Kerala, in India, where education is run as a business. Most of the educational institutions are run by private groups, mainly by Christians, who are 23% of the population. The private schools are better run than the government schools, but generally employ teachers based on community considerations and cash paid to the management, while the teachers' salaries are paid by the government. Private schools also sell seats from junior KG to professional degree classes.

The worst situation is in schooling. The Present Minister of Education, a Communist, has resorted to artificially increasing the pass percentage in 10th Standard from less that 40% before his time to double that during his three-year tenure. This is said to be a vote-catching technique, because after this, he will increase the pass-percentage in higher secondary (he has to), and they are ready to join professional and other undergraduate courses. The student unions are political--his party has the largest following among the student community, thanks to the populist policy. They are expected to vote for his party when they are 18. This is the story of systematically undermining education in the state with the highest literacy in India. The government of India's HRD Minister who has the education portfolio that recently elevated Muslim Madrassa education to the level of CBSC in recognition so that jobs can be given to Muslims with mere religious education on the basis of this artificially brought-about equivalency with a national general education scheme. The education system appears to be a playing field for politicians in India.

Bruce Lindvall

Why do people usually focus on the negative aspects of standardized testing?

About 20 years ago, I served in an admission role in professional school admission. A young man applied from a very small private college several states away. Admission committee members scoffed at his 4.0 grade point average--until his standardized test scores at the 99% percentile arrived. They were still not sure, but they reluctantly admitted him. I was the first to remind the admission committee members at the end of two years that he still had a 4.0 grade point average.

As long as standardized test scores are placed in perspective, much good can come from their use. Today grade point averages and individual grades can be very inflated. Using standardized test scores in this case was very important to this applicant. I learned a very valuable lesson that I have never forgotten. Use standardized test scores in the proper perspective along with many other factors.

Floyd

The one thing standard tests do not tell us is the difference between learning and teaching. Students learn; teachers teach. It doesn't matter how good the teacher is if the student doesn't want to learn. Learning has to be developed in the home and respected among the students' peer groups. And what, or how much, a student learns may not be evident until years later.

Greg W

Frank said: "That does not mean you must 'teach' the test."

The problem is that they do. Foreign language teachers have to stop their program to teach math and reading the month prior to the test.

My problem with standardized testing is that we move the responsibility of success from a communication between the family and the teacher to bureaucrats which, in my humble opinion, is not a good thing.

Dan

I love standardized tests. My brothers and I are home-schooled, and we all enjoy kicking the snot out of those poor drones and their miserable masters.

shorts-r-us

Have we run out excuses for our children why they are failing? To place blame on a test--so you get rid of the standardized test, now what? What's next, how about getting rid of the ACTs and SATs? How about getting rid of the MCAT, PCAT, and the BAR? Shouldn't the question be posed to the parents: Why is your child failing the standardized test? Are children failing because of the lack of parenting or the lack of parents?

WilliamL

The standardized test is the only way to make sure of a fair playing field. Without the standard test, how do you judge a student? Use his/her GPA and his/her school's "reputation"? Then you will exclude all poor students from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton as poor students can never get into "reputable" rich people's school districts.

Warren

@MF

Your logic really fails.

You meant if people on Wall Street didn't take standard tests, the financial crisis wouldn't happen.

The actual fact is that people on Wall Street took standard tests, and the financial crisis happened. But taking standard tests is not necessarily the cause of the financial crisis. There is no direct causation relationship between them.

Suppose people on Wall Street really didn't take standard tests--the actual result may even be worse. The capital market may never exist, the USA would have never completed the first Industrial Revolution, and countries that use standard tests like China could leap ahead of the USA.

Your logic is a perfect failure. Perhaps that's why you don't like standard tests, because you can't do well on them. Critical reasoning is a common sense, and taught in various college courses such as pychology, math, and computer science. I recommend that you catch it up.

Texan

There is the adage of too much of anything is a bad thing. Doing a standardized test in the beginning of school and then at the end should be enough. Texas has the TAKS test, which is given every minute of the day, it appears. Because I am the one who has to scan tron all those test and score them. It has become the religion. Now, the only thing you have are teachers, testing for the test and not for knowledge. Remember back when, it is easy to forget, that Socrates and the Greeks used the socratic form of knowledge where ideas were spun around, and conversation and debate occurred. You do not have individual critical thinking. Even for the SAT, and other entrance exams, you have companies that tell you how to test, but not how to learn about the world, the subject. Why do you think all the kids in the world are totally clueless on how to do things on their own. Remember, when we were thrown in 7th grade, we had to find our own rooms, we had to learn how to use a lock on the locker, we had to figure things out. Now, you have parent conferences and meetings on how to do things we have been doing for years. Talk about dumbed down.

joe

Before we can standardize the test, we must first standardize the schools. As of now the individual states are doing a bad job. Some districts get money; the others don't. Let's just make one standard for all schools in the country and not each state do its own thing.

MC

As someone who is dyslexic and who doesn't learn to the "standard"--this bothers me immensely. There is not a one size fits all. There needs to be a system that allows schools to get rid of "bad" teachers. No more tenure. It has good intentions but bad consequences. Testing is important but I hate the idea of anything being so structured to be standardized. Not everyone learns the same way. We are not stupid or dumb or lazy. We have our own way. Of course there are standardized tests in every day life? Really? I was able to pass the Series 7 without having to undergo these crazy tests they have now. I think the whole curriculum should be examined and updated to reflect our current reality. The only objective--prepare students for the future.

sumi cue

The question is irrelevant to the issue of determining whether a student gets educated or not. The whole mess in the USA economy is brought by the failure of the education system to deliver what are important to the humankind: integrity and character. Mold the students' character and develop impeccable integrity that will drive them to self-direct to keep on learning so that problem solving becomes an integrated part of their existence. A system of evaluation must include the mastery of their language; the communication skills to impart and to engage their thoughts with others and thus resolve the issue of when and what to act upon to fulfill their beings as well-integrated, well-rounded problem solvers.

Eva

@ Luis

Let us all take a step back and see how much control a teacher has over a child. These precious children spent their first five years at home. Then they came to school, and every day they go home to a house where about eighty percent have parents that both work outside the home. Parents that hardly have the time to help their children with homework or any other aspect of their lives. Then in third grade along comes the dreaded TAKS test. Who makes sure these children get a healthy balanced meal the night before or go to bed early so they will be well rested? Who makes sure the parents haven't had a big fight the night before, or who gets them up on time and makes sure they have a good breakfast that morning? Not the teacher whose job and pay depends on that child passing. Parents carry just as much responsibility for their children passing the TAKS as teachers. What goes on at home greatly influences a child's performance at school, no matter how well a teacher teaches.

laura

Why have them? They're basically useless.

ws

They want us all standardized because that way we are easier to control. It's all about control of the masses and one world order. They don't want us to have a soul. They would prefer that we were all nice little numbers shoving the mean up the steep grade of the standard deviation...all for the benefit of the powers that be, of course. You're not an individual any more, you're a slave, so heave-ho!

jeff archer

I believe that the standardized testing should be stopped because teachers are forced to focus on just certain things instead of teaching them all the other things that would be helpful in life.
My comment on the fact that we are expected to know certain things by the time we graduate is that we should be on our own. If we don't know it then that is our fault--plus with all the time schools spend on special prep and the actual taking of the tests, there is so much more that the teachers could teach.

BOB

I hate this topic. Why does this have to be so complicated?

CB

I being a freshly graduated high schooler know that these tests are useless. I have a learning difficulty, which my verbal communication is in the 97th percentile while my writing is about the 50th, but on these standardized tests no one can see my articulate and proper speech. They only see my one flaw because that's all they test. I agree that if we are to standardize tests we must first standardize the schools, but that will never happen. We need teachers who are competent enough to teach their craft and hope that these students pick up what they need.

My school took up classes in the 9th grade that were not english related for the literacy test practice instead of being taught course material. That continued into the 10th grade. The worst part was the practice didn't help me. I was told I was going to fail but I passed easily first try.

We need to find better ways to teach material and not resort to standardized tests.

Bridget

Standardization is the first step in creating a society where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

We are fooling ourselves to believe that the threat of privatization is not the goal of NCLB. Creating a system where schools are held accountable for the failure of students and are being shut down as a result can only mean one thing. Slowly but surely, those students, the minorities, special needs, and ESL learners are continuously failing while the subconciously privileged passing students are choosing which schools they want to go to using vouchers. These vouchers take money from the schools who are already in dire need of resources and use it to fund the brand new swimming pool on the greener side of town.

Therefore, those "bad" schools are only becoming worse as resources are being taken, and, in turn, the percentage of failure is skewed because of the lack of passing students.

Holding schools accountable based on these one - size - fits - all standard is definitely not possible until our country's privileged are willing to accept an equal distribution of funding within our national public school system. If each school system is given the same amount of funds, then we can hold schools accountable for the failing rates.

Instead, these people will continue to strip money from struggling schools in order for their child to be the best of the best. While we've been teaching to test, we have forgotten about helping others and the good of humankind as a whole

Robert McDonnell

Let's standardize everything. We can all think the same. Look into Finland's education system. Their kids don't start school until age 7, and they are ranked highest in world.

hazel walker

Whether standardized tests are an accurate way of rating someone's intellect and academic ability is an issue that interests me on a personal and academic level. An issue I wish to address in a paper I am writing. Since high school I have always come top of the class with regard to my work but the pressure and constraints of exams has always let me down. I am in university now and my writings are 1st class and my tutors praise me as a 'excellent social thinker.' I have been approached by qualified social thinkers, through academic forums, and am currently collaborating with someone in the US and I haven't even finished my degree yet! . However in exams I feel like my ideas are restricted--we are taught that the paper should show you have attended the course, the implication being to regurgitate what has gone before. To learn and to be taught have become two different things--the problem with exams and standardized testing is that it leaves little scope for coherent original thought and is based largely on remembering what you have been told. If everyone followed that tract, then we would have no advances in medicine and the sciences. political and social theories would not be developed, and we would have little understanding of the world around us. By the heavy reliance on standardized testing we are being discouraged to think and question what we think we know, squashing innovation, invention, and discovery,

Deb

Everyone is enitled to their opinion. I have a child who just can't test. She is bright and does well in school yet this type of testing gives her troulble.

The pressure on the children is there. I work at the school I have witnessed it. I would like to know exactly what are the benefits from this testing? I am a supporter of testing a child to see where they are at as an individual, but these tests lump everyone into one uniformed group, and we all learn at different times and different ways. We are not robots you can program. I feel we are doing more harm and are doing more damage to the youth of today; they will still be successful adults if we give them back their childhood. Think back in history before testing. I think we did pretty well as a nation. Nothing was broken--why did we try and fix it?

Chad

Don't forget about the teachers that actually excel at teaching. Their student's average tests scores and critical learning skills may be higher, but school officials often give problematic students to these teachers, bringing their average scores back down. In the end, the hardest working teacher looks average and the slackers look average as well.

Due to the standardized or required lesson plans, the teachers that cause their kids to excel are no longer allowed to use their own lesson plans and tools. They must follow the "required" lesson plans or lose their jobs.

Raise requirements for graduating each grade level. Many years ago, text books were fine print, 1 inch thick, and did not have pictures. In those days calculus was understood long before college.

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