Stop The Standardized Testing Mania!

                                 By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD  

    All of this test mania in Georgia (and nationwide) should cease, and we should go back to the days when teachers developed their own plans (written or unwritten) to match the creative ways that they would employ to reach the hard-to-reach students.  These standardized tests have indeed become the false gods of public education (as we have pointed out many times on  The standardization of testing and the shameless teaching of the tests are, as Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element, has stated,  not unlike gorging young kids with fast food.  Our students are indeed malnourished.  I have been calling for a cessation of this standardized testing for years.  It is a dumbing down of the educational process.  Students are not allowed to tap into their "element," as Sir Ken Robinson rightly points out.  Students become very bored with this very narrow and very boring and very homogenized and very shallow form of indoctrination which we have the nerve to call "education."  It is at best nothing but regurgitation.  A good step in the right direction would be to STOP THE STANDARDIZED TESTING.  Then, systems like Atlanta, DeKalb, Houston, L. A., et al., will not be so tempted to take the path of easiest resistance by cultivating a culture of fear which then enables the nazi-administrators to create the culture of cheating.  It would be nice to see Governor Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Board of Education simply say: "Enough is enough.  We are going to free up our teachers to teach.  After all, they are professionals.  We are going to cease all of the educational snoopervision.  A loose net will catch anyone not acting professionally.  A tight net only suffocates the whole educational establishment."  Wow, it  would be nice if they actually said this.  There would be celebration in the schools all over the State!      

    Which of the politicians and/or policy-makers have the nerve to state the obvious?  Who will acknowledge that an 800 pound polka-dotted gorilla is sitting in the educational parlor?  Who will stand up and say, "The Educational Emperor is naked!"?  Will DuBose Porter step forward or will he continue to think that he can beat Roy Barnes and Thurbert Baker by coming up with stupid gimmicks like running his wife for Light Gov?  Will David Poythress continue to rely on his "General" status to catapult him to the top in the Democratic Primary?  No, these poor political souls will take the traditional route to ignominious and easily forgotten defeats.  None, I fear, will have the chutzpah to come out of the pack like Joe Frank Harris did in 1982 with his "No Tax Increase" promise.  Zell Miller, in 1990, took the Lottery & Hope tack and rode it to victory!  Who among the gubernatorial hopefuls will tap into the inordinate frustration in Georgia's educational family?  Educators First, Bureaucrats Last!  Slogans like this tap into the ethos of educators who have demonstrated that, en masse, they can swing statewide races, especially with the numerous family members and friends whom they can sway.  I have been paid handsome sums to come up with memorable logos and slogans (like the slogan above) for politicians through the years.  This slogan just popped into my head as I was typing this.  Who likes bureaucrats?  No one.  Bureaucrats are despised by people in society, but especially by educators.  Yes, the word   "bureaucrats" serves as a "straw man" but a "straw man" which symbolizes what is wrong with government...faceless bureaucrats who have little sympathy for the painful needs which beset the voters.
    On the GOP side, there is little doubt that John Oxendine will walk away with the primary nod.  He will probably score in the forties, if not barely over the 50% magical mark.  If he slips below that mark, he will face Karen Handel in the Republican Runoff.  The way the scene looks now, I predict (and I could be wrong, but I don't miss this often!  LOL!) a Roy-Ox match-up in November, with Gwinnett pitting its political prowess against the "Marauding Mob of Mableton and Marietta" (as I have often described the good-ole-boy "mafia" of Cobb).  The Gwinnettians have not quite demonstrated to me that they have the political moxie to flex their muscles state-wide, but the race will be one of the closest November races that we have had in years.  Oxendine would serve himself wisely if he aligned himself with frustrated educators in Georgia and "allowed" ole Roy to suffer as the "author" of many of the problems in education today in Georgia, especially the testing mania and the "blame the teachers first" culture.  Roy knows that this is his weakness, and he is doing all that he can now to try to get sympathetic teachers to put their fingers in his Educational Dikes.  The Ox should constantly remind educators that Roy is the King of their Educational Problems and Angst.    I don't know if any of these already-declared candidates really gets it.  I offer this "free advice," hoping that at least one will realize that Georgia's Educational Community is about to explode and that putting political Band-aids on massive and festering sores will only exhibit the folly of their understanding of what is going on.  Zell Miller understood the power of the Educator Vote.  After his shocking election, Sonny Perdue began to appreciate it.  But, he is no longer running, and he has now proposed an imbecilic "All Star Teachers" program which will only continue to cultivate and facilitate the culture of cheating in our schools.  Who among the candidates now is willing to tap into this acute frustration?  The first to do so in a full-frontal assault will win this vote.  Those who tip toe to it will be resented by educators as Johnny-Come-Latelies. (c) MACE, February 22, 2010.   

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