No, I'm just kidding with that title. I'm not going to sing the praises of standardized testing. I've studied all the arguments including, but not limited to, distortion of the curriculum and teaching to the test, stress, cultural bias, and impeding critical thinking. I believe Oprah recently had a guest on her show who connects standardized testing with bullying in schools. That said, there was something wonderful about last week, the week when my third and fourth graders took the NJASK (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge) test. Do you know why? Because the teachers sent home no homework. Oprah's expert could have come to my house to observe the drop in bullying or at least the drop in stress in my kitchen every day last week. My ten year old son frequently spends ninety minutes on homework, but not those five days of testing. Instead, he played with his brother and friends outside, he built Lego masterpieces, rode his bike, and read Kate DiCamillo's beautiful book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. One day during testing when he was finished, his teacher helped him select it from the classroom library. He enjoyed it so much that he read his sister's copy at home in the evenings. He never would have done that after more than an hour of homework. He went with Edward from Egypt Street to the bottom of the ocean to a garbage heap to learning to love others. I'm not really singing the praises of testing but rather the benefits of less homework. It was a great week of pleasant afternoons. By the way, my daughter used the free time to read The Penderwicks, More About Paddington, and The Secret of Platform 13. She didn't create any Lego wonders, but she didn't mind. Her discovery of the Penderwick sisters will probably inspire her to compose her own ode to testing week.