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Standardized tests...yea or nay?


Upon entering the room, the child’s heart beats at break-neck speed. The little one has sweaty palms that can barely hold the number two pencils in his innocent hands. The butterflies swarm in the youngster’s stomach making him unsure if he will be able to keep down the “good” breakfast that his mother was advised to feed him. Last night, he found it difficult to get the “good night’s sleep” that was also suggested.
In front of him there is a sea of bubbles and letters. A voice from the front of the room begins to speak. “Make your mark heavy and dark.” Nervously, the child opens his book as instructed by the person at the front of the room who, instead of reassuring him, seems nervous too. “You may begin,” are the last words heard in the room before the sound of silence.
The standardized tests that mark the closing of the school year have begun!
Some say standardized tests…                                               
improve the accountability of students and schools.
motivate students to really learn the material rather than just memorize for tests.
ensure that students aren't pushed into a grade level they aren't ready for.
prepare students to compete in a global society.             
Others believe standardized tests…
can be biased or unfair.
punish students in failing school districts.
lessen the flexibility of teachers.  
allow the learning of tested materials while other materials receive less emphasis.
No matter what you say or what you believe, the debate has begun among N.C. lawmakers as to whether certain standardized tests will be eliminated. Could offering relief to students that seem to be inundated with tests be the reasoning behind this debate? Could it be that the elimination of some tests will save money as the state struggles to balance the state budget? Will the ultimate decision be good for N.C. and be what is best for the students of this state?               

What do you say? What do you believe?