One of the rationales behind standardized testing is that we can hold all schools to uniform standards. Except that apparently, we can't. In an op/ed piece in today's Record newspaper (which originally appeared in the Christian Science Monitor), a person hired to grade the tests reveals how standards were lowered and fudged in order to get tests graded quickly and cheaply. The problem: the job was entrusted to a for-profit organization.
While accountability in education may be an important goal, it’s critical to realize how difficult that might be to pin down. The lesson of my career should be that trusting massive corporations that answer to a bottom line to make decisions about American schools is a whole lot different than trusting those men and women who stand every day at the front of the classroom.
Why does privatization always mean for-profit? Hasn't anybody heard of the Red Cross or the World Bank? Private organizations, answerable neither to government to shareholder, yet without the need to better the return every quarter.
But even that begs the question. I suspect that even within our little Language Arts department at New Milford we could not reach a perfect consensus in grading a given piece of writing. School ccountability, like perfect justice, is a wonderful ideal that may not be practical in this life.