On the one hand, I hate the idea of teaching to the test. A well rounded education should give a child the ability to pass a good test. Note that I said, "a good test." Also, what is on the test may or may not be what allows a person to be successful later in life. Sure, everyone needs to read. Everyone needs to do basic math, but I've known very successful people with doctorate degrees who struggled with basic algebra. Successful test results do not mean that a person will or won't be successful in life. There are too many important personality traits involved for a test to predict long term success.
On the other hand, many things on the existing, even the not so good, standardized tests are important. It's not as if educators came together and said, "Let's think of the stuff that kids least need to know and put it on the test." In other words, standardized tests are indicators of a student's learning on some key areas.
On yet another hand (just kidding)...
So, I stumbled upon this article by a teacher outlining what he thinks are both the merits and the faults of teaching to a test. I thought I'd share it.