Children’s Authors Urge Administration To Cut Standardized Testing

The Los Angeles Times (10/23, Tobar) reports that a group of leading children’s authors and illustrators have sent an open letter to President Obama arguing that “too much standardized testing is causing children to lose their love of books.” The signers, including Judy Blume and Jules Feiffer, were participating in an initiative launched by the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. The Times quotes the letter reading, “We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your Administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature.”

        Valerie Strauss writes at the Washington Post (10/23, Strauss) “Answer Sheet” blog that author and poet Maya Angelou also signed the letter, describing her participation as significant “not only because of her position in the literary world but because she has been a big public supporter of Obama.”

        The Wichita (KS) Eagle (10/23, Tobias) reports that the letter was also addressed to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and that ED issued a response “saying tests serve an important function.” The piece quotes ED spokesman Cameron French saying, “Tests provide data that allow school systems to make crucial decisions based on how much students are learning. History shows that when we don’t do that, it’s the performance of the most vulnerable students that gets swept under the rug.”