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America’s toxic culture of testing

First No Child Left Behind and Common Core, and now this: Charter schools in our nation’s capital are going to give high-stakes tests to 3- and 4-year-olds. This “culture of testing” is deeply troubling for what it emphasizes – and what it doesn’t. After all, if testing were the best way to ensure success in today’s economy, why did a Chinese educational leader recently say that he would know their education system was improving if students started doing less well on tests?

Our ultimate goal is to help children live up to their potential to become happy adults who make positive contributions to society. The key traits that characterize such adults include a zest for life, creativity, perseverance, empathy, effective communication and the ability to cooperate with others. These are things that can’t be measured well – if at all – by tests. So why are we investing so much time and money in testing children along the way?

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