The movement of testing to determine teaching effectiveness is not dissimilar to totalitarian regimes that require a national curriculum agenda. This mania is sweeping the land of the free. Let us recall that the No Child Left Behind and similar efforts in postsecondary education are an attempt to standardise teaching and create a robotic teacher corps paying homage to tests over which they have no control. If enough faculty and supine unions go along with this disgrace-under the guise of assessment of student learning-then all instruction and pedagogical methodology will be driven by test writers in state capitals, congressional committee staff meetings and even worse by state and local school boards.
Professors and teachers are being purged, fired and suspended whose test scores are not up to an arbitrary figure. Tenured teachers are being hounded out of secondary education and laid off.Â This is more than merely casting a “pall of orthodoxy over the classroom”Â (Keyishian v. Board of Regents). This is to control and censor teachers through totalitarian means that is similar to fascism. There is no question about this. The mania toward standardisation of education is not to educate but to prevent or severely restrict teaching that questions the ethos of American capitalism and racism. Stuffing tests down the throats of students gags the teachers and forces them under threat of position forfeiture to teach to the test. It could compel a return to the canon of white male exclusivity; to abandon the questioning of the god delusion; to force teachers to denounce Darwinian evolution and embrace the voodoo of Creationism and intelligent design (moronic design for those who advocate such nonsense); it is to prevent radical-in-your-face-outside-the-lines teaching that is needed to replenish democracy and restore economic redistributive justice.
The Spelling Commission of the war criminal, neo-fascist George W. Bush days, is why the Republicans and many “liberal” cohortsÂ are so hypocritical. They want less government, less regulation andÂ less interference (it was interposition during the days of James Meredith and Elizabeth Eckford)Â except when it comes to freedom. If it comes to freedom, then the state should compel contraceptive denial; if it comes to freethinking professors inspiring action-oriented students, the state says halt and insteadÂ TEST TEST TEST. On the one hand you have Republicans who want to abolish the Department of Education–which might serve the public interest–but simultaneously erect all these metrics and qualitative standardsÂ to weed out inspired teaching under the false mask of outing incompetent teaching. Simultaneously, these purveyors of faux educational standards, slash aid to education, cut school lunch programmes, eviscerate collective bargaining rights ofÂ teacher unions and abolish tenure without which creative teaching is impossible.
So the die is cast and the battle lines are drawn. Resist the testing, resist the creation of a national curriculum in which government and their acolyte think tanks take over the educational system. Tear up the tests, barricade the doors and teach, liberate, and free the minds of our students so when they become leaders, we can finally destroy poverty in this country and end the racism of the new Jim Crow. Teach peace and resistance to this horrid militaristic, monstrousÂ country –its leaders not its people–and go for it in the classroom! Rip up and in Garrisonian style burnÂ the standardised tests andÂ defend yourselves and your students from this egregious effort to destroy democracy and the educational system of the United States.