Hey, Blue Ribbon K-12 panel! I know the legislators among you are desperate to engineer any excuse you can get not to take the single most important action you can to stem South Dakota’s teacher shortage—i.e., raise teacher pay.
So here’s a distraction for you: end standardized testing! Phi Delta Kappa’s 47th annual survey on attitudes toward public schools finds that the general public puts little faith in standardized tests. 64% of all Americans say their public schools place too much emphasis on standardized testing. That opinion is shared by majorities across partisan and racial groups:
Just like us teachers, most Americans believe there are much better ways to measure kids’ progress than someone else’s tests.
Americans actually put more faith in teachers to tell them how their kids are performing:
The percentage of Americans who think standardized tests are useful tools for school improvement is lower than the percentage of South Dakotans last year who thought our Democratic candidate would be useful as Governor:
These results indicate that legislators could make an awful lot of South Dakotans happy by deëmphasizing standardized tests, respecting the work teachers do, and trusting teachers to make kids smarter and schools better.
Of course, trusting and respecting teachers means paying them more than the worst teacher salary in the nation….