What’s Left Out
- Although most educators think depth is more important than breadth of coverage, the proliferation of state-level standards results in the polar opposite. Teachers survey entire fields to “cover” the curriculum and stuff kids like turkeys with as many facts as possible. The impact is even starker in areas that are not tested. High-stakes tests have narrowed and dumbed down curricula and eliminated time spent on untested subjects by about a third, including recess. The fact that this happened was not part of discussions that lead to the tests in the first place. Tests also drive instruction towards items with one clear, right answer at the expense of open-ended problem solving. Explaining is hard to do when you are blackening a bubble. Common Core Standards being pushed by the Obama administration only contribute to the problem.
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