I turn to my boss, Bill Moore, for wisdom and complexity. The current polarized debate over standardized testing is rife with misunderstanding, assumptions, and inaccurate conflations. It can be hard to navigate all those threads and discern the truth, and I trust Bill to help me to do that– it’s why he’s been my mentor for the past decade. In this blog post, he delivers, with his usual grace and clarity, a compelling reading of the recent segment by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. In particular, he muses on a potential connection between the parents who refuse to have their children take the Smarter Balanced Assessment (the “opt-out” movement) and the parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated.
My friend and colleague Jen Whetham sent me a note recently, along with a link to a segment from John Oliver’s HBO series, Last Week Tonight, with these comments:
“So my feelings about this piece are complex. Clearly, John Oliver is brilliant—particularly the repetition of “here comes the monkey.” And it’s poignant . . . the section about the testing booklets coming with instructions about what to do if a student vomits on them makes my heart hurt, as does the young woman who cries during the testimony of her experience. And, of course, Nathan Hale’s [High school, in Seattle] juniors are mentioned, as is the search for graders on Craig’s List.
I feel like a lot of folks will watch this (and probably send it to me) and consider it the last word on SmarterBalanced and as further evidence to conflate their opposition to standardized testing in general…
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