<b>High-stakes testing</b>

EDITOR: Michelle Rhee ("Opting out of tests? Wrong answer," April 13) scoffs at the notion that tests take up too much time in schools. Her derision is part of a well-polished lie. Starting with No Child Left Behind, test mania has dictated every aspect of schools for more than a decade.

The lofty goal of higher test scores has determined when, how and for how long a subject was taught, or if it was taught at all. Subjects such as science and history got short shrift. Art and music programs were abolished altogether. Common Core will alleviate some of the worst aspects of this failed system but not this maniacal focus on the test.

Those with vested interests in the test's use have greatly inflated its importance. Like Rhee, they disregard contradictory evidence such as socio-economic factors that are more apt to determine a child's test scores than a particular school or teacher.

Also, teachers make decisions based upon daily observations and interactions, not the previous year's scores. And standardized tests cannot possibly measure a school's daily struggle to meet the emotional and physical needs of its children.

High-stakes testing narrows school curriculum and wastes time that could be better spent.