FairTest Reaction to President Obama's State of the Union Proposals on School "Reform"

for more information, contact
Dr. Monty Neill  (617) 522-0801
Bob Schaeffer  (239) 395-6773

for immediate release, Wednesday evening, January 27, 2010


President Obama deserves praise for proposing increased funding for the nation's public schools, particularly if the additional money goes to classrooms serving children who have been left behind.

However, the President's plans for a national competition to improve schools embraces the failed high-states testing policies embodied in "No Child Left Behind."  The "Race to the Top" program actually intensifies the damaging consequences of over-reliance on standardized exams: declining graduation rates and increased dropouts; good students and teachers turned off by dumbed-down learning; and too many classrooms becoming little more than test prep centers.  Misusing tests to rank and judge teachers will make these problems worse.

A "world class" education requires major assessment reform. Other nations which produce superior performance test far less and attach far lower stakes to those tests.

A cosmetic makeover of "No Child Left Behind" is not adequate. The fundamental approach must be overhauled, as candidate Obama recognized in his campaign speeches. Washington needs to start helping schools get better, not piling on more tests and punishments. Otherwise, the Administration will just be repackaging warmed-over educational snake oil.

- - 30 -  -