Historical Advantages to Testing


An argument is growing across the country that there should be less testing of U.S. history in schools.  It’s just so darned hard.

Virginia has dropped much of their vaunted history tests.

But don’t peddle that idea in Texas, where David Bradley of the Texas School Board chuckles at the notion of devaluing the importance of history.

“How you be effective in going forward if you don’t know where you’ve been?” he asks rhetorically.

While Bradley finds much to criticize about testing in Texas public schools, and encourages vigorous public dialogue on how the state should move forward on the issue, when it comes to teaching basics, like cursive writing, he doesn’t equivocate. “If kids don’t learn cursive writing, they can’t read cursive writing! The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the early founding documents…if you can’t even read the original founding documents, where do you start?”  Yeah, Thomas Jefferson didn’t use Microsoft Word and his favorite font was a quill.

 As for testing, Bradley agrees it not only sharpens comprehension it teaches life-skills that will be in play long after graduation. “When someone walks into my office, whether they’re looking for a job or filling out an application to rent one of our properties, they’re being tested then.”


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