Ben Jealous and Larry Hogan debate public education policy, but neither has campaigned on the low-hanging fruit of eliminating computer-based state testing. Reputable tests like the SAT, ACT and PSAT are successfully administered on paper. Despite Maryland’s two-percent testing cap, computerized testing often disrupts 20 to 40 percent of a school year. One-to-one computers are too costly and controversial for the state to make them a non-negotiable demand.
Our public schools have slipped from 1st to 6th in the nation since 2013 when Maryland State Department of Education began PARCC, Common Core and computerized testing. Our current tests are like Soviet cars — inconvenient, high-cost, low-quality products produced by a bureaucracy and sold to captive consumers. Private school students finish their yearly assessments in less than 2½ hours (“Maryland PARCC test scores inch up, with Baltimore City schools leading improvement in the region,” Aug. 28).
Giving public school students, teachers and parents the same respect may hurt the tech companies and consultants, but teachers tell me they would enthusiastically vote for any candidate who promised to replace the state assessments with a single, 2½-hour, paper and pencil test, as permitted by federal law since President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015.
Jonathan Roland, Nottingham
The writer is a Baltimore County Public Schools teacher.