The Trouble with Test-Obsessed Principals



When I was a child, I couldn’t spell the word “principal.”

I kept getting confused with its homonym “principle.”

I remember Mr. Vay, the friendly head of our middle school, set me straight. He said, “You want to end the word with P-A-L because I’m not just your principal, I’m your pal!”

And somehow that corny little mnemonic device did the trick.

Today’s principals have come a long way since Mr. Vay.

Many of them have little interest in becoming anyone’s pal. They’re too obsessed with standardized test scores.

I’m serious.

They’re not concerned with student culture, creativity, citizenship, empathy, health, justice – they only care about ways to maximize that little number the state wants to transform our children into.

And there’s a reason for that. It’s how the school system is designed to operate.

A new research brief from the Tennessee Education Research Alliance concluded that…

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