Fordham and OEA differ in Gwonger

Here's an excerpt from a June 24 Gongwer report concerning a Center on Education Policy study showing Ohio's testing and accountability program is working. Terry Ryan, Fordham's Ohio vice president for programs and policy, spars with the Ohio Education Association over the issue of whether the state should hold schools and students accountable for academic results. See the entire article here (subscription required).

...Michele Prater, spokeswoman for the Ohio Education Association, said the current emphasis on testing could hamper teachers' efforts to develop students to their full potential.

"We call on elected officials to foster transformation in the classroom by freeing teachers from the current overuse of standardized testing," she said. "No Child Left Behind and other similar unenlightened mandates overemphasize high stakes testing and saddle some schools and districts with punitive labels, while stifling innovation and creativity in classroom teaching," she said.

Mr. (Terry) Ryan dismissed criticism of intensive testing, saying there was no data to show that it has discouraged other types of creative learning. Standardized test scores reflect the success that schools are having success [sic] in teaching critical skills, he added.

"These are basic cognitive skills that you need to be functional in the United States, and if you look at the results from these tests, it shows that Ohio is starting to make headway in getting children to actually have these skills, including the poorest and neediest of our children," he said.

Does it come at the expense of these children's creativity? Quite frankly, I'm not sure if I care if a child that can't read is creative," he said.

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