Barry Jackson on “Teaching to the Test”

Barry Jackson, who tutors children in the East Valley, sent the following letter to Betsy Devos, United States Secretary of Education. 

Dear Secretary DeVos:

For several months I have been tutoring a student whose school seems to spend an inordinate amount of time preparing students for standardized tests. First it was two days "reviewing" for a Galileo test. Now she says "we are not doing anything" but preparing for another standardized test, and this is taking several days. Along with "fall break"(two weeks) and "early release" Wednesdays, it is at least even money that she is learning more from me in one hour than she receives in a week in school.

But…I’m not blaming the school, the district, or the state. My suspicion is that Washington is the culprit, dispensing funds to the states, and through the states to the districts and finally the schools, based largely on the scores from these standardized tests. The students are being cheated. I feel almost as sorry for the teachers, who cannot do otherwise than "teach to the test."

Control over education should not go beyond the district level. Common Core should be ended. I believe you have the power to influence our education system for the good, and I believe you have the desire to do so. Thank you for your time.

Barry Jackson

NOTE:  Barry Jackson can be reached via email at  He specializes in tutoring students in Math, grades 3 thru 8.  He also tutors all grade levels in American and European History.  He lives in southeast Gilbert.  

See Also:

Congressman Andy Biggs Introduces the Ending Common Core and Expanding School Choice Act. "This legislation repeals Title I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to roll back stringent federal policies on annual assessments, academic standards, and accountability systems that hamper states’ ability to best meet the needs of our students. It also prevents the federal government from mandating or incentivizing adoption of Common Core or any other set of standards or curriculum."

High Stakes Testing – Expensive, Wasteful, Ineffective Child Abuse

The National Common Core Standards System