It is an understatement to say standardized testing is ruining education. Standardized testing takes a good concept, education, and then scientifically tries to find the absolute best way to turn it inside out, decimate it, and build trophies out of its bones. In Florida, there is a standardized test called the FCAT in public schools (Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test), the basis is high scores plus improvement yields funding, while low or worsening scores leads to a decline of funding. The writers of the test have especially gone out of there way to really make matters worse by adding demographics, an explanation which will be later given. The best way to illustrate the travesty of standardized testing is to tell a completely true story (which I experienced first hand), and then proceed to explain the effects.
Choctawhatchee High School (CHS) in Okaloosa County, Florida was subjected to the ill effects of the FCAT last year. CHS was an A school, meaning it had done well on the FCAT and as so was receiving decent funding, but after last year’s FCAT testing results were revealed, the A status was stripped away and supplanted by a B status, meaning pretty well no funding. First of all, it should be made completely clear that keeping a schools score exactly the same will still result in a loss of funding, that school absolutely must show improvement. CHS, however, fell victim to the demographic aspects of the test; For funding, it is not good enough to show overall improvement in scores, all races and genders must also show improvements in scores. This means if there is one single Native American student in the school, and that one single student doesn’t show improvement over the years, they pull the plug on funding. From what I understand, this is exactly what happened. But even this thought alone planted in an endless imagination would not even begin to describe what problems it has caused.
When funding is decreased it always means one of two things: budget cuts or an increase in charges, unfortunately CHS got lucky and saw both happen. Now, at CHS students must rent their lockers for five dollars over the year, must pay twenty-five dollars for a parking spot, must pay five cents for every page printed on school printers, must pay fifty cents if that page is in color, and in addition each student is asked to “donate” ten dollars to contribute to funding science lab supplies. These are the charges, staff has been reduced meaning fewer teachers and custodial personnel, dirtier schools are to be expected, as is the sight of mold spores seeping through vents and ceiling tiles. So, at least in the sense that the schools are unhealthier to be around, perhaps the bureaucrats actually had a pretty good end-game, since the students won’t survive to complain.
To explain the gravity of the situation further, Okaloosa County is the number one, highest FCAT testing county in Florida; so if this is happening there, imagine what is going on at other schools in other counties. The people of the United States are letting this happen nationwide, it would be wise to speak up about this for the sake of the future. So, once again no, standardized testing isn’t ruining the public education system, it is taking the future of America and literally killing them, as if the current system doesn’t want the next generation to lead this country to a better place.