Amid the hyper-inflated rhetoric of “reformers” (a.k.a “no excuses” reformers) vs. “anti-reformers” (a.k.a. “defenders of the status quo”) I have been struck by the many political cartoons that have appeared around testing, especially since the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2002. Surely, these labels are misnomers since whichever side a reformer is on, what separates one from the other is the direction and means for achieving reform. Like Toys R Us, it is Reformers R Us. School reform is the Great American Cottage Industry.
Having made the obvious point that reformers of all stripes seek to improve schools but pursue different goals and strategies, what I have noticed is that most cartoons I have seen oppose standardized testing and in drawings and captions lay out negative consequences flowing from the type of tests, their proliferation, and the anxieties surrounding testing itself. In short, opponents of market-driven, “no excuses” reformers have a wealth of political cartoons to draw from in making their points. I am unsure whether this is accurate about the wealth of satirical humor available to “defenders of the status quo” but that is what I have found. If it is accurate, what does this say of the humor quotient among “reformers?”
What follows is a sampling of cartoons I have found that illustrate this anti-test bias. I do wonder where are the cartoons that support tests.
*Some of these cartoons I have collected and others I have gotten from Susan Ohanian‘s collection.