by Greg Queen
The origins of measuring intelligence lie in scientist trying to prove the irrational belief of the superiority of one race over another.The racist and classist undertones of some of the folks who promote these exams are obvious once the dialogue gets past the superficial arguments in support of standardized testing.
The increased fear/power associated with standardized curriculum and testing parallel the rise in both domestic and global inequality.The benefactors of inequality have historically created institutions and ideas to mask the inequality.This is just one more example attempting to rationalize inequality.
I am a social studies teacher.I think that the curriculum demanded by the state in conjunction with standardized test attempt to regulate knowledge, control the questions that are asked in classrooms.The message sent from the test is that if you do not pass it, you must be dumb and it is your own damn fault.This is part of a whole trend of thinking that says you can not change the world, so you should just learn to live with it.You should be able to adjust.If not, well, again it is your own damn fault.A question for me is “who gains from this idea?”
Although many teachers still explore the more difficult questions, as the stakes increase, these more complex questions get pushed aside because they take up too much time.Breadth counts more the depth.Know a little about a lot, but know nothing very well.Stay at the appearance level and never explore the essence.I think this happens because when we begin to look at the essence of issues, we have to begin examining issues of inequality, class, race, and power.
Although, I think we are beginning to see some of the fears subside and some people begin to question the high-stakes testing, I still think we have to keep fighting.
I think that our fight needs to broaden beyond the tests to demand at least a more equal distribution of funds in schools.I think that the best way to do this is to build a base of support that demands and does not ask. In our society, power is in the hands of corporations and their prostitutes.In is not in their interests to promote a more egalitarian society.They benefit from the inequality and privilege.It is in our interest to broaden the purpose of the anti-testing movement to attacking the its real cause- the need for domination resulting from inequalities in society.
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