The Education-Testing Complex of Mass Destruction

Companies that create and administer standardized tests are making a fortune in this era of test-based accountability

by Marion Brady | Published October 25, 2012 by Answer Sheet Blog

Which brings me to your local, state, and federal tax bill for last year, this year, next year, and into the foreseeable future. And also brings me to the famous warning in President Eisenhower’s January 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation. “We must,” he said, “guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence …by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Here’s another version of that warning: “Beware the education-test manufacturer complex. The potential for disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Right now the scale on a per-dollar basis of the education-test manufacturer complex isn’t on par with that of the military-industrial complex. However, companies that create and sell tests are on the problem and moving fast.

Forget for now the money involved. Think about the long-term consequences of taking control of kids’ minds away from homes and parents, away from neighborhood schools and teachers, away from locally elected school boards and local press, and handing it over to people for whom quality education is far down their list of priorities, if it appears at all.

Do that, and you may come to the conclusion — to continue Eisenhower’s warning — that this is a greater danger to our children’s and grandchildren’s  “liberties and democratic processes” than that posed by the military-industrial complex.

What’s the education-test manufacturer complex’s long-term strategy, as coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council?

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