The New McCarthyism: Postsecondary Education and Standardised Testing

The New York Times is reporting on the latest cancer of conformity sweeping higher ed. It is the standardised test–the mestatisising of No Child Left Behind from secondary education to higher ed. Orwellian enemies of critical thinking and intellectual diversity include such self-proclaimed “education organisations” such as the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability and Voluntary System of Accountability. They are leading the way for this destruction of student learning through national accountability testing. They want national testing of millions of college students to allegedly rank those universities and colleges that are doing the best job in student outcomes. Of course such efforts to determine what and whether students learn cannot be done by bureaucrats devising a fill in the blank questionnaire with number 2 pencils.

You see these folks want a national curriculum. They want to cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom in which students, instead of reading Marx and Engels and the epic works of Howard Zinn, Gar Alperovitz and Noam Chomsky are being forced to adopt a national canon. The tail, endless testing, will wag the dog, what books, which teachers which syllabi will be acceptable. All this testing, all this standardisation of outcomes is nothing more that an attempt to destroy academic freedom in the United States, create robotic students, eliminate critical thinking, extirpate questioning authority through the drumbeat of mindless, endless, senseless testing.

This mania to test college students to out universities who allegedly are not teaching well, started with Margaret Spellings in 2006: she was war criminal and mass murderer George W. Bush’s education secretary. Her report, the Spelling Commission, used the 1% language of “value added,” “student’s academic baseline,” and other Wall Street type patois of quantitative metrics to impose this centralised curriculum through the back door of inposed quantitative assessment of student outcomes.

Well let me tell the testers, the Orwellians, the education “reformers,” the advocates of the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence, the standardisation of education, what they can’t do. They can’t test my students! They can’t impose their right-wing agenda on me. We need students who will be rebels, revolutionaries who will overthrow, peacefully, this racist, warmongering country with its death penalty, Robert Zimmermans, persecution of LGBTS, Fox News, economic inequality and lack of national, socialised medicine.

Testing does not measure critical thinking, ethical outcomes, resistance to the canon, the capacity to question authority, knowledge of progressive views that reject the capitalistic evil of this nation.

Testers: it is not your purview to determine how postsecondary institutions educate. It is not for you to use the centralised state or coalition of certain universities to dictate to individual institutions how to measure learning. No: it is for faculties as defined in the AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities of 1966 to effectuate, and implement on their own campuses the curriculum; this should reflect their vision, their dreams, their definition of what learning is and how it should be measured. The deal is not to perpetuate an assembly line of non-thinking college graduates but to promote intellectual critical thinking that challenges all authority: even the testers who have never been in the classrooms of those they deem unable to teach well and get excellent outcomes.

Nota bene! I will never monitor or proffer any instrument in my classes that is written without my consent and approval. You will not get into my classroom through the sub rosa goal of student conformity through more testing. You will not silence me through the mania of Orwellian, ex cathedra testing. I stand between you and my students and you will lose and I will win. I draw the line and take my stand!

Signed: one of the 101 Most Dangerous Professors

This entry was posted in Academia/Academic Freedom. Bookmark the permalink.