Is high stakes testing designed to create a political rationale for privatization?

To get our blog started, I’m sharing this letter I just sent to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in response to an editorial that appeared on Sept. 17, which you can read at:  Since there are always so many points that could be made but since there are also space limits, I would love to hear your thoughts to fill out the picture.  See the “Instructions” page on how to reply. Any of you who would like to post an article on another topic are welcome to send your submissions to me.

Sept. 19, 2013

To the editor:

Your chastise-everyone editorial about public education (Sept. 18) omitted the group that has been shown to have the greatest impact on educational success–parents.  Long time, unexplained neglect of this important fact is why I cheered when the Washington Post ‘s Esther Cepeda recently wrote a column entitled:  “Needed: A Report card on parents” (

While I think the current blame approach is highly counter productive, we really have to ask why politicians have focused on it rather than seeking guidance from the research that has been done on how parents impact student performance, why they do or don’t get involved, and how schools and teachers can promote greater involvement.

Instead, for years they have enacted one high stakes testing approach after another, and the results have been dismal.  It has become clear to me that their motive is not to improve but to diminish public education to the point that they achieve a case for privatizing it, another issue that has been insufficiently covered in the media.

Parents nationwide are recognizing that the only way to get back to a more positive approach to educating our children is to change the politicians.  Sadly, since politicians of both parties have participated in this charade, voters must take the time to learn about the exact position of each politician on high stakes testing and education funding before voting.

Jackie Evangelista

Concord, OH