John Noreen, in an editorial in Sunday's Gazette, summed up my feelings on the entire CSAP program! Anyone agree?
"Johnnie may or may not have scored well on Colorado's CSAP test.
One thing is sure, though: College admissions offices, military recruiters and personnel offices everywhere could not care less about Johnnie's score on the Colorado Student Assessment Program.
That's right, kids. If you tanked on the CSAP test, don't worry - there will never be any consequences. Of course, if you are beyond the fifth grade, you probably knew that.
Any parents who have observed teenagers in recent years are aware that some middle schoolers and high school students don't try very hard on the CSAP tests.
Why should they? And if adults know that, why would they place such importance on CSAP scores?
The bureaucrats and big-government Republican lawmakers who crafted the test were never interested in measuring Johnnie's progress. In political terms, CSAP is a tool used to chastise teachers unions, the natural political enemies of those who support CSAP the most.
CSAP tests are Colorado's version of fulfilling the requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, President George W. Bush's education policy.
Like former Gov. Bill Owens, many Republicans across America were so enthusiastic about No Child Left Behind that they were willing to wink at a huge unfunded federal mandate, as well as the growth of a mammoth federal bureaucracy.
These same politicos embrace the memory of Ronald Reagan, who vowed to eliminate the Department of Education because he thought the federal government had no place in K-12 education.
Now there is a growing number of No Child Left Behind critics, including conservatives opposed to the gargantuan federal role in classrooms. This year, CSAP testing will cost $21 million in Colorado, $15 million of which is paid by Colorado taxpayers.
This profligate spending in support of America's obsession with keeping score won't last much longer. The Democrat-controlled Colorado Legislature is looking at scrapping the CSAP test.
There are a couple of bills aimed at doing that; one of them was approved Thursday by the House Education Committee, whose chairman is Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs.
Merrifield, a retired teacher, has long opposed the unrelenting emphasis on testing, saying "It undeniably has forced administrators to take money and resources and time from the rest of the curriculum, including the arts and humanities."
One inevitable result of CSAP is that schools are encouraged to simply prepare the kids for the test instead of providing education in the deeper sense. It has taken a lot of the fun out of going to school.
"You would be shocked at how many districts have cut out or cut back on recess," Merrifield said. What Colorado decides may be moot if a Democrat wins the White House. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have vowed to end the No Child Left Behind nonsense."