Friday, October 26, 2007

NY State Education Dept Needs Massive Reform

updated 12 pm, Oct. 26

D26 CDEC Testing Forum

At one point Senator Padavan spoke and said he will look into the possibility of limiting the high stakes testing by imposing limits on state funds to NYC; in a manner similar to the recent limits of CFE money for class size reduction."

Posted on nyceducationnews listserve as part of a report from a forum testing held in Queens last night. Appearing were Randi Weingarten, Bob Tobias (former head of accountability at the old BOE and a frequent BloomKlein critic on testing policy) and Jane Hirschman (time out from testing)

My comment:

As we learned at our high stakes forum a few weeks ago at Fordham, NY state has one of the most regressive and oppressive testing procedures that goes way beyond what NCLB requires. One thing the Senator can do is to focus on the process for appointing the state board of regents which appoints the state ed commissioner. Right now I understand the state assembly has the major role and Shelly Silver is instrumental.

If there is to be progress on reforming the state and city testing procedures it starts there. Holding politicians accountable is part of the process. So why am I, as usual, skeptical? Has the UFT put any effort into these kids of reforms? Appearing at forums and saying the right things is fine. But if it stops there then they are just words. If UFT reps appear at these forums they should be asked exactly what are their policies on reforming state ed and how far are they willing to go to back this up -- ie. withholding endorsements and support for candidates.


Leonie Haimson's entire post is at Norms Notes.

Comment by Melvyn Meer
Congratulations are in order for Rob Caloras who, on behalf of the D26 CDEC, hosted this important event. By dint of energy and hard work Rob has made the D26 CDEC a very credible voice for positive change in our area.

Bob Tobias was a "hero" in 2005 pointing out the politicization of the test results in that year in preparation for the mayor's reelection. I think it fair to say that his principal point was that, while testing has its place, the uses to which the current tests are being put are uses for which the tests were never validated. Hence, the "high stakes" consequences to the children, to the teachers, to the principals and to the schools are totally unjustified. But because of this the kids are being test-prepped to exhaustion and that is educationally dysfunctional.

Jane Hirschmann of "Time Out From Testing" very effectively made the case that all of this high stakes test prep going on in the schools comes at the expense of the real education process and of enrichment to that process. She advocated strongly that parents take control of their children's education. That led to questions and comments from parents
about what they can do in an environment where the DoE has stripped parents of any effective voice. Jane spoke about her organization's willingness to help parents organize to make their wishes known. There was talk of boycotts.

IMO Randi Weingarten had nothing important to contribute, notwithstanding that the majority of the audience were her members and expressed frustration with what they were being called upon to to do to their kids.

Melvyn Meer
Queens Community Board 11 Education Committee

Ed Notes Comment: when the policies of the UFT (recent merit pay plan endorsing high stakes testing plus issues raised above) run counter to the interests of the members who are clearly frustrated over the situation, there is not much one can contribute.

No comments: