From The Nation, a look at President Obama’s education policy:

…But Obama’s teacher-evaluation push also led to an explosion of standardized testing, in order to gather the ‘student data’ needed to judge teachers’ work. I traveled to Colorado in the fall of 2010, where a new state law required 50 percent of every teacher’s evaluation score to be based on student-achievement data. In Harrison School District 2, a low-income, largely Latino district in Colorado Springs, children as young as 6 were taking pencil-and-paper tests in gym, art, and music. As many as 25 days per school year were spent on testing, a number that would soon become commonplace nationwide.

A year later, I told Secretary Duncan at a private meeting with education writers about a physical-education test that second-graders had taken in Harrison, in which they were asked to draw a picture of two hands catching a ball. Gym teachers were being evaluated and paid according to how well 7-year-olds could do that. Duncan looked concerned and told me that the administration had never intended schools to adopt such narrow and hastily conceived testing policies…

Continue reading.