Standardized tests have been a part of American education since the mid-1800s. Their use skyrocketed after 2002's No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandated annual testing in all 50 states. US students slipped from 18th in the world in math in 2000 to 31st place in 2009, with a similar decline in science and no change in reading. Failures in the education system have been blamed on rising poverty levels, teacher quality, tenure policies, and increasingly on the pervasive use of standardized tests.
Proponents say standardized tests are a fair and objective measure of student achievement, that they ensure teachers and schools are accountable to taxpayers, and that the most relevant constituents parents and students approve of testing.
Opponents say the tests are neither fair nor objective, that their use promotes a narrow curriculum and drill-like "teaching to the test," and that excessive testing undermines America's ability to produce innovators and critical thinkers. read more
One of the Obama family dogs, Sunny, was blamed by some for getting a little too rambunctious with a toddler today at a White House event.
It was a rough start for health reform, or Obamacare, across the country as exchanges in several states experienced hiccups.
A federally-run exchange for consumers in 36 states began posting error messages for at least 25 of them soon after the system opened for enrollment, citing online traffic as a reason for the difficulties, according to Reuters.