Check it out. Very sad for our colleges and standards, as I see it. But not surprising for those of us who have watched the troubling and unfortunately, predictable dive from standards, starting in 2003 when the SAT and ACT stopped “flagging” tests given with nonstandard accommdations. See my piece at the time,

What are we doing as a nation? Whither standards?

As we all know, we have standardized tests because they allow us to evaluate and compare students with one measure, whether students are from cities or rural areas, public or private schools, the USA or other countries.

BUT, if the SAT and ACT are no longer standardized, then what are we paying all this money for? What’s the point? Who are the winners and losers here? I believe our country loses when standards are no longer standard. We lose faith in our colleges. Trust is killed. It’s not a good path forward.

My concern is with these mega testing companies, the SAT and ACT, that went off track 15 years ago and led us astray, not so much with students or parents who take advantage of that open back door. These testing companies need to fix this! NOW!

There are many options for fixing this. Perhaps the SAT and ACT can bring back the notification to readers (colleges, students, parents, taxpayers) when a test is taken under nonstandard conditions, either because a student has a disability or because a student chooses to take the test that way–disabled or not. Or they can stop timing the tests for everyone. BTW–why are these tests timed? Is it just administrative convenience? Test proctors need to be paid more?

What a sad mess they have created for our country. I’m sure there are other fixes. Your thoughts? They need to fix these tests NOW!

Thank you, Mike Schmoker, for this important and necessary Commentary. You are so right! We need more (objective, not-agenda-or advocacy-driven) researchers and educators to speak up for effective educational practices and results.

What’s missing, though, is any mention of special education–the arena filled with agenda-driven, faddish, mandated, and yet, unproven approaches. Beyond differentiated instruction, which is mentioned here as “popular”, but not evidence-based, how about the use of 1:1 aides, the push for technology for “personalized instruction”–whatever that term means (it is still not defined), the overuse and misused of so-called accommodations, the mandate for “inclusion” even when it does not work for all students–just for starters!

When education is driven by Washington and state capitals–instead of by honest researchers and classroom teachers and, even, common sense–can we be surprised that it is not evidence-based? We need more teachers to speak up and pursue what works. Thanks for getting the conversation going.

When will this ever end? What will be the tipping point? How unfair can we be?

Testing companies need to preserve test validity– that’s the product they are supposedly selling–tests that are STANDARDIZED to measure all students fairly and in the same way. So, they have a choice. Either stop timing these tests for everyone or bring back notification that the extended time test results were obtained through NON STANDARD test administration.

When will this ever end? When will they ever learn?

Silicon Valley –where so much technology, which we now realize can be very addictive, is created, is often for other people’s children.

Many parents in SV don’t allow their OWN to use it, or very much limit their children’s use, and choose schools (private, of course), where technology is not used–even as they keep on selling this stuff to public schools across the US.

In fact, more low-tech private schools are popping but, even as tech sales to public schools for other people’s children grow and grow.

Is this just hypocracy? A double standard? Lack of knowledge? Good business practices? Or something else?

All I know is that it’s scary.

Check out this TED talk also–how these gadgets are DESIGNED to be addictive.

And yet, public schools keep on buying more and more technology for kids. Tests now DEMAND IT!!! See recent NAEP reports.

In the schools, this article cites Google’s push with Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Classroom.


Yes, really scary. The earlier kids get hooked, the more they will be loyal customers for life. Not bad, at tax payer dollars!

Yet, SV (for other people’s children) thinks of itself as being “good” and being for the “good.”


Yes, really scary. Read Joe Clement and Matt Miles’ book, Screen Schooled. This article states, “the co-authors make the case that technology does far more harm than good, even when it’s used to boost scores in reading and math.”

Yet schools continue on their buying spree.


Yes, really scary.

The author speculates that Steve Jobs would have opted his kids OUT of using this stuff.

And the article gives examples of some parents trying to stem the tide for their children.

Where’s the outrage? It’s really scary.

Thank you, Diane, for posting and James Harvey of the Superintendents’ Roundtable, for reminding us. We don’t live in Lake Wobegon where all kids are above average. Honestly, can all kids will be proficient?

Raising false expectations leads to a loss of trust in our schools. Remember 2014 when the NCLB mandated (?) that all kids were to be proficient. How did that work out for us?

Wonderful story.

PBS–proficiency-based schools–is the way forward, as I see it. Let’s help kids BEFORE they fall behind. Let’s get them ready for kindergarten. Here’s a story about early childhood programs in California’s Lindsay Unified School District.

While it’s certainly a step in the right direction, I also believe in early childhood in the home! Recall the so-called “30 million word gap” research. We need home-based supports. Helping parents become better first teachers for their children is key! As an example of a successful program, please check out 10 Books a Home in California.

All good.

When will they (we) ever learn?

And see comments, especially by John Merrow pointing to the many times he raised red flags that went unheeded.

I worry that the next “reform” bubble that will eventually burst, after it damages our schools and students, is the push to put a lap top in front of every little child in the name of “personalized instruction” and 21st century whatever. Where’s objective data to support this costly venture–that’s being pushed by sellers and their hype. Why are critics sidelined? Yet again.

When will we ever learn that if something looks too good to be true, it’s probably not.

In the piece, I write that when the public learns what’s really going on in our schools–step by step–and when they’ve finally had enough–change will happen–and happen fast! The article lays out several areas of deep concern and sketches three broad solutions.

Please feel free to share and repost this piece. The more the better!

An unlikely pair–Jamie and Diane. Thanks for the pickup, Diane.

They agree that we need to bring back real literature for our children. The Common Core’s “Informational texts” are a poor substitute. They do and have already led to declines in student achievement–the dumbing down of America.

Bring back Frankenstein!

Thanks you Jamie and Diane!

Cry the beloved country

Alan Patton wrote a novel, Cry the Beloved Country about South Africa in 1948. Today I cry for our country because it is filled with hatred, vitriol, and voices that do not hear (and have no interest to hear) each other. Where does this all go?

In this article, we’re talking about schools–the one public connector we have always had.

I listened to the 60 Minutes Leslie Stahl interview of Betsy Devos–in disappointment, both for the questions and answers. The questions were surprisingly off-target “gotcha” questions that lacked substance. Many of the the answers lacked specifics.

But my tears flow when I read the comments this article garnered. They are filled with namecalling, vitriol. condescension, nastiness, questioning IQs, lacking humanity, etc. Is this the Washington Post? or am I reading it all wrong so there’s no need for tears? your thoughts.