Welcome from Monty Neill
FairTest Examiner, November 2009
Assessment reformers across the nation and, indeed, around the globe are in mourning over the deaths of Ted Sizer and Jerry Bracey. Ted and Jerry died a day apart in October, Ted after a long battle with cancer, Jerry suddenly in his sleep. Both were very important figures in the battles for educationally beneficial assessment, high quality schooling for all, and education in the service of democracy. Jerry was most noted as a pungent critic and probing researcher, puncturing the myths of the day, while Ted led the formation of the Coalition of Essential Schools to promote schools that help children learn to use their minds well. We miss them greatly. The greatest tribute we can pay them is to continue to struggle passionately and wisely for the goals we share.
In this issue's stories, we celebrate another increase in the number of colleges that do not require applicants to submit test scores for admission. New research adds to the mass of evidence showing how high-stakes testing undermines education and fairness, from school through college. In Washington, where the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (soon to no-longer be titled “No Child Left Behind”) looms, Secretary of Education Duncan persists in pushing heavily test-oriented programs as part of his "Race to the Top" fund. Stout resistance has managed to somewhat temper his plans, but the big battles over federally mandated overuse and misuse of tests are just re-starting.
FairTest will remain in the thick of these fights, promoting test-score optional college admissions, leading the charge to fundamentally overhaul ESEA/NCLB, and supporting allies across the nation in campaigns against state and local test misuse and overuse.
As always, we need your assistance to advance these campaigns, so we ask that you to click the button next to this column and make a tax-exempt donation to FairTest today.
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