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D&C Unable to Serve the Public Interest

D&C Unable to Serve the Public Interest


Unable and unwilling to analyze the multi-layered flaws with high-stakes standardized testing, the D&C continues to actively support widely-rejected student tests produced by a handful of for-profit corporations. The newspaper remains tone-deaf.

Even though the role of modern journalism is the opposite, the D&C has never provided any serious analysis of high-stakes standardized testing and has consistently gone out of its way to uphold what violates the public interest.

In “Test results: Fewer opt outs, scores rise” (Sept. 26, 2018), the D&C displays no depth of understanding and casually repeats objectionable ideas about high-stakes standardized tests. It goes out of its way to talk about high-stakes standardized tests and their results as if they are meaningful and should just be taken for granted, despite what hundreds of researchers and scholars have analyzed and exposed for decades. It is as if the tests are somehow valid, legitimate, and serve the public interest, and all that is needed is to talk about numbers and rankings.

The D&C also acts like no good solutions and alternatives to widely-rejected high-stakes tests have been offered, and that somehow this is a good rationale for not questioning top-down testing regimes imposed on students and teachers by big business.

The D&C openly cites the pro-privatization group Education Trust New York to reaffirm its disdain for the opt-out movement. Education Trust New York nonchalantly trivializes and belittles broad public opposition to high-stakes standardized tests produced by big business.

The D&C also gives 2-3 lines of attention to New York State United Teachers’ position on high-stakes standardized tests so as to fend off any criticisms that it is promoting “one side” at the expense of the other. But the net effect of this “balanced” “both sides” approach is to keep the door open to destructive neoliberal ideas and assumptions. Such an approach pollutes social consciousness and undermines cognitive coherence in the name of fairness and “balance.” It deprives people of an independent outlook that serves their interests.

As for the five minute video by Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia embedded in the D&C article, it is devoid of analysis and speaks about tests as if they are meaningful and scientific, and somehow useful to education and society. Decades of experience across the nation shows, however, that the high-stakes standardized testing regime promoted by the rich and their media has solved nothing. It has only led to more problems.

People need ideas, thinking, and an outlook that is independent of the ideas, assumptions, and views of the rich and their representatives. It is not possible to have human-centered arrangements by relying on neoliberal assumptions and ideas, and by going along with the agenda of wealthy private interests. The so-called “achievement gap,” poverty, racism, and segregation cannot be solved by relying on the rich and their outdated thinking and system.


Shawgi Tell stell5@naz.edu

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