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Standardized Testing, Public Education, and Profits

John Oliver has analyzed the testing frenzy in American public schools in a way that is both smart and entertaining.  This is a must watch.

One of the most depressing elements for me is how the responsibility for these tests has been shifted to for-profit companies.  Everywhere we look, we see education in this country moving from a conception that it is a “public good,” to which all people have a right and that the government ought to be providing, to a “private good,” by which the wealthy are able to get the better education while the children of the underclass continue to be left behind.

Even at the higher education level, two large (supposedly non-profit) companies provide our college entrance exams, our state coffers are no longer funding higher education, and even public colleges in-state cost more than a lot of people can really afford (without taking on mountains of debt, which can foreclose opportunity rather than generate it).

Testing is an important way to provide accountability.  We need to do it.  But the way we are doing it in this country is pretty messed up.

Mark Montgomery
Educational Consultant

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