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Teacher standoff stokes debate over standardized tests

By staff and wire services reports
March 4th, 2013

A boycott by Seattle teachers of a widely used standardized test has attracted national attention and given new momentum to a growing protest movement that seeks to limit standardized testing in U.S. public schools, Reuters reports. The revolt by Seattle public school teachers, joining educators and students elsewhere, comes at a time of bitter political wrangling over how best to reinvigorate a $525 billion public school system that leaves American children lagging their counterparts in countries like Finland and South Korea. Standardized tests have played an ever-more prominent role in public schools over the past decade. Yearly testing in reading and math for elementary school students required by former President George W. Bush’s 2002 landmark testing law, known as “No Child Left Behind,” exposed stark achievement gaps in many schools, mainly along racial and economic lines, and spurred interventions to help struggling kids. Sandy Kress, a former advisor to Bush on the law and lobbyist for Pearson, a company that publishes academic tests, said focusing too much on test scores alone will, in the end, cheat students out of the kind of quality education that sometimes can’t be measured by standardized tests…

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staff and wire services reports