When did education become a "race to the top"? When did we start defining effective teachers and successful schools based on test scores?

The increase in standardized testing has begun to decrease the quality of education, as we know it. Students, teachers, principals, and schools have been forced to spend significant time and energy on testing, while putting quality instruction on the back burner. Is this really what we want to see happening within our schools?

As an educator myself, I agree that teachers need to be held accountable for student achievement; however, putting pressure on teachers to improve their students' standardized test scores is not the answer.

When used appropriately, tests may be useful and provide meaningful, instructional feedback to teachers.

However, increasing standardized testing and pressuring educators to improve student test scores in order to be considered effective and successful is decreasing the quality of teacher instruction and time spent on valuable curriculum. The average student in the public school system takes approximately 112 standardized tests between kindergarten and 12th grade. That is over 20 hours spent on testing per school year.

So what can we do to change this over-abundance of standardized testing? How can we start to gain back time spent in the classroom on valuable instruction rather than preparing and administering tests? Ohio's state superintendent Paolo DeMaria has proposed substantial cuts in state testing. We are not going to see significant changes made if we simply sit back and watch. Our voices do not need to go unheard.

So if you want to restore education by allowing schools to do what is best for kids, I encourage you to contact your representative/senator in Columbus and support Ohio's state superintendent Paolo DeMaria's proposal.

This could be the start of putting the control back into the hands of local districts and teachers in the classroom, rather than legislators.

Paige Krol, Stow