Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LA Teacher Union Urges Boycott of Practice Tests....


....but is warned the scores may go down.

Gee, ya think?

L.A. teachers' union calls for boycott of practice testing

These tests are all about practicing for THE BIG ONE. They take time away from doing real teaching. But they do serve the purpose of artificially inflating the scores. Sort of like lifting weights. I can actually make my puny biceps look like more than little lumps with a few sets of curls. Lasts a few hours before shrinking back to reality.

"The union Tuesday directed teachers to refuse to give them to students on the grounds that the tests are costly and counterproductive."

Here's a union that walks the walk. Not like the UFT which sets up a committee to study the testing issue for a year, comes out with a pretty good report (so they can say they have reservations about testing) but then endorses merit pay based on test scores and measuring individual teacher performance based on these tests.

[LATU Pres.] Duffy remains skeptical.

"The pig does not get fatter when you weigh it 10 times a day," Duffy said. "And if the test scores do go up, isn't it phony? Because what you are doing is teaching to the test, teaching a subject that has been narrowed down radically. We're not creating smarter kids. We're creating smarter test takers."

Duffy announced the boycott Tuesday at Emerson Middle School on the Westside, where teachers said the district tests were too burdensome on top of already mandated state and federal testing.

"We are supposed to be teaching, not testing," said Emerson English teacher Cecily Myart-Cruz. "We can come up with our own assessments in our classroom, and we do -- every day."
Teachers and schools actually seem to have some say, not like here in NYC, and Duffy may actually pull this off. The LATU showed off its biceps when most of the teachers in LA boycotted classes successfully for an hour at the beginning of the school day earlier this school year.

[Supt Ray] Cortines asserted that the assessments are part of teachers' assigned duties -- they are not optional. He also said he has and will amend aspects of the tests that need fixing. But he won't toss them out because, he said, they have contributed strongly to rising performance on the state's own annual tests.

I'm disappointed in Ray Cortines, who I always considered a good educator, for pushing these tests but all these guys are under enormous pressure to show results. But I think he is not arrogant like a Joel Klein and hopefully will try to make some changes. But even the best seem to be caving. How he will respond to a massive boycott will be interesting. If teachers ever started using their power enmasse.... ah, why even bring it up? In NYC the UFT is just one big obstruction with tiny biceps.


Related:
When Bronx teacher Doug Avella's 4 classes refused to take one of these practice tests, the DOE called out the hounds and he seems to have disappeared from the school system. Maybe they sent him to GITMO.

Articles on Ed Notes on the Avella story in chronological order beginning in May 2008.

Bronx Teacher Under Gun Due to Student Boycott of Test

Dear Joel Klein - Letters on Student Test Boycott

Where is Leo Casey and Edwize on Test Boycott?

1 comment:

  1. End the mandates on NCLB ! It's like the flu and catching! Go LA !

    ReplyDelete

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