Bush Test Expansion Scheme Will Leave More Children Behind, Dumb Down Educational Quality

For further information: Dr. Monty Neill (857) 350-8207 or Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773

For immediate release Friday, September 3, 2004

President Bush's campaign proposal to require high school students to take "a rigorous exam before graduation" will leave more children behind and dumb down the quality of education in many public schools, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest).
FairTest Executive Director Monty Neill explained, "President Bush seems to think there's nothing wrong with America's schools that another test can't solve. But the record shows that government-mandated exams end up pushing more students out of school without diplomas. In Texas, the dropout rate soared after state tests were imposed. At the same time, independent measures demonstrate that overall educational quality in Texas did not improve. This year, for example, SAT scores in Houston declined sharply, including an enormous 19-point plunge among African Americans and Hispanics -- the very students the President claims will be helped by ever more testing. This is a direct result of policies that forced teachers to focus on the narrow content of the state's exams, not the far broader range of skills needed for success in college and life."
"The exam expansion proposal will worsen the many educational problems already arising from the Administration's over-emphasis on standardized test scores in the so-called 'No Child Left Behind' law," Neill continued. "As recent opinion polls demonstrate, the public has recognized that more tests are not the solution to the very real problems that face some U.S. schools."

Fact sheets and reports demonstrating the flaws of high-stakes testing programs, including the recent report "Failing Our Children: How 'No Child Left Behind' Undermines Quality and Equity in Education" are available at http://www.fairtest.org