School change: Does the U.S. Want what China Wants to Throw Away: The Role of Testing in Two National Education Reform Plans

by Steve Wyckoff on April 5, 2010

Yong Zhao has written a wonderful blog post about the role of testing in China and the United States. It is a must read for educators as they ponder the direction they want to take our schools relative to standardized tests. I’ve written before about my objections of standardize tests and their impact on school change. In light of Dr. Zhos’s blog post our emphasis on standardized tests is even more disturbing.

While the Chinese are apparently gaining momentum in terms of changing their schools to prepare their kids to be more productive and more well suited to participate in 21st-century economies, we are going exactly the opposite direction in America. Their schools are trying to figure out how to make their kids more creative and innovative and at the same time we are trying to figure out how to clone test takers.

This is a disturbing trend. Americans in general, and educators more specifically, believe that we cannot possibly lose our standing as the predominant country in the world. When I hear these comments I always remind the person who makes them that 100 years ago the sun never set on the British Empire. Today the British Empire has come back to the pack and has been passed by many, many countries. It can happen to us to.

Political leaders and educational leaders alike are taking us down a path to become a second rate country. We should be striving for school change that propelles us to a leadership role among countries in the 21st century, the path we are taking now is doing just the opposite. –  Steve Wyckoff

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