The folks who have resisted real education reform will attempt to sell their broken ideas, tax-the-rich schemes and radical socialism in D.C. next month.

Sorry to be the bearer of unpleasant news, but the SOS (Save Our Schools) March on Washington — an attempt to con the public by diverting the debate away from real education reform issues like failing schools, irresponsible spending, retaining bad teachers, etc. – will be setting up their Big Top in Washington D.C. from July 28th to July 31st.

The annoying whiny voice in the SOS promotional video is probably an indication as to what the tone of the event will be. Its endorsers are the usual motley collection of progressive educators, socialist organizations and teachers unions that one would expect – Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol, Students for a Democratic Society, the Freedom Socialist Party and the National Educational Association are just a few of the individuals and organizations lending their name to this circus. I will be reporting more on the event in the weeks to come.

Going through the event’s website, one sees the typical “progressive” reform ideas including pleas for “more money for education” and “smaller class sizes,” but one thing did jump out at me – the obsessive hatred of standardized testing. Many education reformers think that standardized testing is one way to tell if a child is learning his/her subject matter. However, the SOS crowd sees any use of standardized tests as evil. The progressive educators don’t like them because they think that teachers will only “teach to the test” and that children will be robbed of a “real education.” The teachers unions don’t like the tests because they know that teachers could be held accountable if children do poorly on them and teacher accountability is the last thing a teachers union will tolerate.

Unfortunately for the naysayers, standardized tests are now being used as part of a teacher’s evaluation in various school districts around the country. Even in Los Angeles, never in the vanguard of reform, an evaluation system including standardized test scores will be beta tested over the next couple of years.

For more on standardized tests – why we need them, why the teachers should be evaluated in part by them and why the results should be made public – please read my latest post in City Journal.

About the author: Larry Sand is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

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