Don’t Teach to the Test

Journalist Ron Berler explains how standardized testing is preventing students from learning.

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How do you think recent budget cuts might affect schools like Brookside?

It's not only the cuts, but the way in which the cuts are made. In this year's budget, 80 percent of that budget [cut] was applied at the elementary school level, which is just the opposite of what it should be. [With] first and second graders, if they're behind at that level, it's entirely possible to bring that child back to grade level. But once you start having to address a child who's in sixth grade, or the seventh grade, or the eighth grade, that kid has fallen far behind.

What do you think are the best ways to invest in education?

I would say reduce and adjust the amount of standardized testing. Reallocate your existing funds so that the thrust of your investment goes to elementary school, early school education, rather than your middle and high school. And finally, parents have to be intimately involved in their child's school lives for them to succeed. And, I think, if you look at my book, you'll see that it doesn't have an agenda. It's balanced, and it's [written] through the voices and the feelings of those who are involved in the daily pressures brought on by No Child Left Behind.

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