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If We Cancel Standardized Testing, How Will We Keep Poor Kids Out of College?

Standardized testing is a brilliant mechanism for sorting children. It separates the winners from the losers, the royalty from the peasants…

There’s a lot of chatter about standardized testing these days, and, as a parent of 3 wonderful boys all named Connor, I felt I should reply. I promise to look at the matter objectively – the fact that my husband is a leading shareholder of Scantron and my 2nd cousin is Betsy DeVos is immaterial. I’m just a parent with a passion for quality education.

Standardized testing is a brilliant mechanism for sorting children. It separates the winners from the losers, the royalty from the peasants, the children who’ve memorized AP vocab words like ‘adroit’ and ‘ducal’ from those who haven’t. Some claim that these tests are biased, racist, and poor measurements of learning. To them I say, the system works very well for me and my family, so I see no need in changing it.

Here’s how it works: We take the same multiple choice, one-size-fits-all test and administer it to every student in our district. If the little red and blue squiggly lines on the assessment report go up, you can hire your teachers back. If the line squiggles down, then class size increases, bathroom stall doors fall off their hinges, and either way I get to steam my vagina like I read about in GOOP.

What could be more American than making kids of all shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds, and Air Jordan sneakers compete in a competition to see who is the best at filling in bubbles to determine their future financial prospects? Everyone loves a winner and to the winner go the spoils: school funding, Ivy League scholarships, intergenerational wealth – the whole megillah. It’s only fair, wouldn’t you agree?  Sluggish schools lose money, poor kids drop out, and I get to immerse my naked body in rose gold.

If we cancel the high stakes tests during the pandemic, or, God help us, permanently, we will no longer know which schools need to have their funding taken away and sent to me in the form of a tax break. (Thank you, Reaganomics! Some of that wealth recently “trickled down” to me in the form of a $15K 24-carat gold-plated vibrator I just bought myself!) 

This has been the American way since time immemorial! Do you hate America or something? As for me, I believe in keeping with tradition and never changing, which is why my face looks like a ball of wax, I always pay 5% in taxes, and I hold my farts inside my butt until they come out of my mouth.

Some say we should talk to teachers to determine what resources schools need, but that is a slippery slope. Underperforming schools could improve, and then peasants will go to college, and then I’ll have to inject my ass into my lips again.

Others say that teachers should be focusing on helping students build “real world skills” like “creativity” and “collaboration,” rather than teaching to the test. Preposterous! Creativity leads to critical thinking, which leads to thinking outside the box, which leads to witchcraft. And collaboration, for what? Social uprising?! We all know that “collaboration” is just code for communism. Don’t forget who pays your salary, teachers! It’s Uncle Sam, not Uncle Stalin!

If we cancel the high stakes tests, how will we know which kids had to stay home without a parent around, because Mom or Dad had to work an “essential” job? I certainly don’t want my children ending up in college with some plebes who went without a private tutor for their Montessori learning pod! And neither did Carl Brigham, who helped found standardized testing for that very reason. If those working class parents wanted their kids to get into college, they should have saved up and donated a library or two, like we did for Connors One and Two. (Connor Three required some additional incentives my lawyer has advised me not to discuss, though it is the subject of an upcoming Netflix documentary so look out for that.)

In the end, standardized testing is the only way to ensure that students learn how to color in between the lines with a #2 pencil – a proper life skill if ever there was one. Tying school funding to test scores is the best way to sort the haves from the have nots and keep poor kids out of college. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and I get to keep drinking fresh squeezed camel’s milk through the esophagus of a golden owl.


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Greener Pastures has a great podcast for satire writers – check them out at https://anchor.fm/greenerpasturespod.

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Summer Koester
Summer Koester

Summer Koester is an award-winning writer, poet, and teacher whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s, the Belladonna, and Slackjaw, among others. She lives in Juneau, Alaska, where she spends her free time growing vegetables in a cold rainforest to feed an army of slugs.

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