New national coalition demands Congressional hearings on high-stakes testing

The Network for Public Education met in Austin Texas over the weekend of March 1 - 3, 2014, while in Chicago the largest movement against high-stakes testing grew as the "Opt Out Movement." The meeting in Austin issued the following press release at the end of their conference.

Network for Public Education met in Austin March 1 and 2, 2014.AUSTIN, TX The Network for Public Education (NPE) closed out its first National Conference here with a call for Congressional hearings to investigate the over-emphasis, misapplication, costs, and poor implementation of high-stakes standardized testing in the nations K-12 public schools.

In a Closing Keynote address to some 500 attendees, education historian and NYU professor Diane Ravitch, an NPE founder and Board President, accused current education policies mandated by the federal government, such as President Barack Obamas Race to the Top, of making high-stakes standardized testing the purpose of education, rather than a measure of education.

The call for Congressional hearings addressed to Senators Lamar Alexander and Tom Harkin of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, and Representatives John Kline and George Miller of the House Education and Workforce Committee states that high-stakes testing in public schools has led to multiple unintended consequences that warrant federal scrutiny. NPE asks Congressional leaders to pursue eleven potential inquiries, including, Do the tests promote skills our children and our economy need? and Are tests being given to children who are too young?

We have learned some valuable lessons about the unintended costs of test-driven reform over the past decade. Unfortunately, many of our nations policies do not reflect this, stated NPE Executive Director Robin Hiller. We need Congress to investigate and take steps to correct the systematic overuse of testing in our schools.

Our system is being rendered less intelligent by the belief that rigor equates to ever more difficult tests, warned NPE Treasurer Anthony Cody. True intelligence in the 21st century depends on creativity and problem-solving, and this cannot be packaged into a test. We need to invest in classrooms, in making sure teachers have the small class sizes, resources, and support they need to succeed. We need to stop wasting time and money in the pursuit of test scores.

About NPE:

The Network for Public Education is an advocacy group whose goal is to fight to protect, preserve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society. Our mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools and the education of current and future generations of students. We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, share information about what works and what doesnt work in public education, and endorse and rate candidates for office based on our principles and goals. More specifically, we will support candidates who oppose high-stakes testing, mass school closures, the privatization of our public schools and the outsourcing of its core functions to for-profit corporations, and we will support candidates who work for evidence-based reforms that will improve our schools and the education of our nations children.

Press Contact:

Anthony Cody

1(510) 917-9231






March 5, 2014 at 6:50 AM

By: Susan Ohanian

Congressional Hearings

I hope teachers across the country will follow the lead of Chicago teachers and get active--rather than wait in hopes Congressional hearings from the folks who brought us NCLB and have sat in complacent silence through RTTT will accomplish anything.

We must act in ways to benefit students--not wait for the corporate-politicos to do something.

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 3 =