Missouri’s Show-Me Institute: Where Liberty (and Censorship?) Come First
Last year, in response to one of their blog posts, I submitted a comment ( https://www.showmeinstitute.org/blog/accountability/if-we%E2%80%99re-going-administer-standardized-tests-let%E2%80%99s-make-them-useful ) to the think tank/advocacy group, the Show-Me Institute, headquartered in St. Louis. I describe what I did, why, and what happened in a Nonpartisan Education Review essay ( https://nonpartisaneducation.org/Review/Essays/v14n3.htm ). Briefly, I warned the Institute that their blog post recommended a policy that would likely be found illegal in the courts. While a couple of other, purely supportive comments were published, my comment was shelved into “pending” status.
For several months. Finally, the Show-Me Institute simply deleted my submitted comment. Here it is:
“Before returning to the “good old days” of un-aligned, internally-administered, no-stakes (for students), national norm-referenced tests for systemwide evaluation, perhaps we should remind ourselves of what those days were really like. One can start by reading J.J. Cannell’s “Lake Wobegon Effect” reports here:
https://nonpartisaneducation.org/Review/Books/CannellBook1.htm . I’d also suggest my report on the same topic here: https://nonpartisaneducation.org/Review/Articles/v6n3.htm . The most important issue to keep in mind, however, is this: if any consequences apply to students, the tests must be aligned to state standards, otherwise the tests will probably be found illegal in the courts, as well they should be. It is simply not fair to evaluate students in any consequential way on material to which they have not been exposed. I do not mean to defend the current testing regime, which I also find unappealing. But, remember, it is this way because the majority party in Congress wanted it this way: http://time.com/3681776/lam/ .”
No nasty words. No personal attacks. Yet, somehow, someone at the ironically-named Show-Me Institute rationalized censoring this comment.
Richard P. Phelps