A couple of weeks ago, Gwen Ifill and the PBS News Hour crew flew to Seattle. They spent one day following me and one day following the richest person who ever lived, Bill Gates, to ask us about our ideas on education reform. I was simply shocked to hear that they would be running an interview with me in tandem with one from Bill Gates. That’s because most of the media believes that teachers are the last people you should talk to about education–what would we know about teaching and learning? It is common practice to only ask Billionaires–who have never attended a public school–what to do education. But I was granted this important opportunity to explain how standardized testing is destroying education and why we are in the midst of the largest uprising against high-stakes testing in U.S. History. The program aired nationally on Tuesday evening and was able to capture many of the insights I have gained in working with so many others in building this movement.
One note: In the program it mentions that I began my teaching career through the Teach for America (TFA) program. That is true. But what was not explained, is that I have become an out spoken critic of TFA–an organization that is relentless in its advocacy of reducing the intellectual an emotional process of teaching and learning into a test score. But TFA certainly isn’t alone in it’s attempt to reduce students to data points. As I tell Gwen Ifill on the News Hour,
It’s become a multibillion-dollar industry to sell exams to children in order to rank and sort them. And it’s become really a test-and-punish model.
Jesse Hagopian teaches history and is the adviser to the Black Student Union at Garfield High School–the site of the historic boycott of the MAP test in 2013. Jesse is an associate editor for the acclaimed Rethinking Schools magazine and is the editor of, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing (Haymarket Books).