|Back to December Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 191||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||DECEMBER 2001|
|NAEP Secure From Parents Only|
By Julie M. Quist
Editor's Note: The following article is the Maple River Education Coalition's (MREdCo) reponse to criticism of its decision to post excerpts of the 1996 NAEP reading and writing long-term trend test on its web site (http://www.mredco.com). Federal officials called the posting "the first significant security breach in the 32 years of the NAEP."
The National Assessment Governing Board calls MREdCo's posting of the 1996 NAEP questions a "security breach." The truth is that the supposed "security" of the NAEP extends only to parents. Everyone else seems to have access! Any branch of government and many corporations have total access to NAEP questions and to the detailed data gathering NAEP conducts on students, schools, teachers, private homes, and communities. The RAND Corporation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the engineering firm MPR Associates, Stanford University, and the National Goals Panel are just a few known examples of groups with access to the NAEP questions and databases.
So why are parents denied access to the NAEP questions? Could it be because two-thirds of these test questions concern personal information and family habits? Of the remaining third, many questions are designed to measure students' personal opinions and assess viewpoints. Many parents would disagree with the questions or find the content objectionable, i.e., radical environmentalism, spirituality (earth-worship), promotion of native mythology and denigration of Christianity, radical feminism, and the humanistic value system, all of which are woven throughout the curriculum. Also included is the assumption that personal worth is measured by employment.
All of this is part of the new national curriculum, and the NAEP is becoming the primary measuring stick for how well it is being taught.
Furthermore, with Congress about to pass new federal legislation (H.R. 1, S. 1), the NAEP will instantly be transformed from the "Nation's Report Card" to the national dictator of curriculum in all schools throughout the country. Tests always drive the curriculum, and a national test will force a national curriculum.
The new national core curriculum as defined by the NAEP test consists of:
You will find this core curriculum established and measured by the NAEP test, which will be used under H.R. 1 to evaluate and set the guidelines for the states' own assessment systems. The NAEP also sets the guidelines for all nationally norm-referenced tests.
Over the past several years, a transformation of the national norm-referenced tests has taken place. All of them have become aligned with the same national core curriculum. This transformation was predicted and described by Marc Tucker, the premier architect of the new federal education system, and Executive Director of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE - www.ncee.org).
In his book, Thinking For A Living, Tucker describes the transformation this way: "The object is to create a national examination system in which states, districts, and even schools can select from many examinations, but with the passing level in all of these examinations set to the same standard . . . . In this way, the nation could have a unified examination system without requiring everyone to use the same test." (p.147)
In short, the national norm-referenced tests are all being aligned with the national curriculum, just as in Tucker's design. Even private school students and most homeschooled children will be measured by their compliance with the new national core curriculum.
States will be subject to rewards and sanctions based on their conformity with the NAEP, which begs the question: What business does the federal government have dictating the attitudes and values our local schools must teach?
Does anyone really think that a test with this much power should not be reviewed and critiqued by the public? Other nationally norm-referenced tests, such as the Iowa Basics tests, are available for viewing. Why not the NAEP?
The NAEP has been marketed to the public for over three decades as an academic achievement assessment. If the NAEP were available to the public, parents would demand that it be rewritten to focus on basic academic knowledge. They would further demand that the offensive, intrusive propaganda, and the questions calculated to measure the worldview of America's families be eliminated.
Julie Quist is vice president of MREdCo, a nonprofit, Minnesota-based organization that "carefully and thoroughly researches the new federal education and workforce system."