Nearly every educator and administrator you hear from lately is concerned with last year’s ISTEP testing. It generally doesn’t matter if you are a 3rd grade teacher at the local public school or a principal at the Christian school down the street. In fact, “concerned” may be a giant understatement. Locally and throughout the state many educators, parents, and politicians have voiced their concerns (and anger) publicly, and for the most part there is a consistent theme: 1) too much state testing; 2) testing technology has been unreliable; 3) testing is only one measure; and 4) our grading system is too narrow and unfair. There are certainly more, but the themes are consistent among many authors.

Although it can be irresistible for both sides of the legislative aisle to use this crisis to cast doubt on nearly every measure of educational policy reform, we must avoid this temptation. If we want to fix the testing crisis in Indiana and improve educational outcomes, let’s work together to fix it. Let’s not use this crisis to further an ideological divide by promoting an agenda that labels pro-parent policies as “anti-public school.” Let’s remember that parents are the first and primary educators, and empowering them to make good decisions about the formation and education of their children is not “anti-public school.”

If we focus our collective energy on addressing shortcomings in our testing and accountability system, we may just find that we (legislators, administrators, parents, and teachers) agree on more than we think.

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