In this week’s program, we take a closer look at how high stakes testing is impacting what happens in classrooms, how teachers see students, how students see themselves, and the kinds of society we are building through how young people are being educated. The impact of high stakes tests is both broadly social and intimately personal. Socially, high stakes testing re-segregates our schools, marginalizes black and brown children, young people who live in poverty and children who do not learn in traditional ways. High stakes testing tells us who we will value, and who we will not value, and makes room for us to criminalize youth, especially black and brown youth, opening the path to the school to prison pipeline. It operates within and builds on white supremacy, and exploits long standing privileges and oppressions. And, as with any dominant discourse, high stakes testing enters our consciousness and begins to structure how we see ourselves, each other, and the kind of world we want to build.
We speak with Linda Christensen, Director of the Oregon Writing Project at Lewis and Clark College, author of Reading, Writing and Rising Up among other books, and editorial board member for Rethinking Schools about how, entering the classroom, even with a curriculum designed to access student voices and knowledge, she discovered that the testing came to stand between her and the students, and her work with students to reclaim their knowledge and stories.
Wayne Au, assistant professor of education at University of Washington Bothell, and author of Unequal by Design: High stakes testing and the standardization of inequality, talks about how high stakes testing locks some students out of the curriculum and begins a process of devaluing - that changes how students know themselves, how teachers know students, and how society sees young people, especially young people of color.
|Erica Meiners (with Tim Scott)|