Failing Our Kids collects fifty fact sheets, opinions, and reports from across the United States into one source that disputes the value of one-dimensional testing and affirms personalized assessment. Editors Barbara Miner and Kathy Swope gathered information from Rethinking School publications (go to the web site for much more: www.rethinkingschools.org) and beyond, and the cumulative effect is both empowering (there is no way to read this book without wanting to make change) and disheartening (there is no way to read this book without realizing how current conditions leave so little room for real teaching and learning).
Failing Our Kids not only details testing inequities and shortcomings, but also extensively discusses the limits of the standards movement from the point of view of multiculturalism and equity. It also looks past the testing behemoth to alternatives, and this section contains powerful examples of local initiatives and forceful arguments detailing how alternative assessments can properly answer calls for accountability. Most notable and useful is the variety of views from parents, students and teachers; these represent the real burden and limitations of standardized testing and represent hope (student Eleanor Martin on why she skipped the mcas), strength (“The Rights of Parents”) and real alternatives. The concluding resource section comprehensively guides those wanting to know how to do more and what to do next. People and groups looking for a single source to energize, inform and support their efforts to resist standardized testing and advance personalized assessment have it in Failing Our Kids.
reviewed by Jill Davidson