Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weingarten Gives Credence to the BloomKlein Testing Myth


Ed Notes has been pointing out for over 10 years that the UFT/AFT is for the testing craze and it extends back to Al Shanker's jumping on board the Nation At Risk Report in 1983. That is why they speak empty words about NCLB which they supported. Ed Notes brought resolutions to the Delegate Assembly and wrote extensively on this issue from 1996 on. At one DA I spoke about the evisceration of the curriculum in elementary schools, especially in science and social studies and the place broke into applause - and that was a year or more (my memory sucks) before BloomKlein came on the scene.

From the June 27 NY Times article on the teacher surveys:

Ms. Weingarten conceded that it had been “a good year in terms of academic success for kids.” Indeed, on Monday, she stood by the chancellor’s side to celebrate the striking gains the city’s students had posted on state math and reading exams. But on Thursday, Ms. Weingarten used the survey to suggest that climbing test scores were not enough. “Let’s focus on educating the whole child, not simply on test results,” she said.

Was Weingarten focused on educating the whole child when she supported and lobbied for a merit pay plan than does the exact opposite by funneling money to teachers based on test scores?

You do see the game she plays. Say one thing and do another. Stand next to Klein when he gets the bogus Broad prize or brags about phony test scores and try to claim some credit, but then turn around the next minute and say, "oh my, all those tests." Weingarten says one thing to teachers and parents - "too much testing, too much time practicing, it is the curriculum, "etc. but stands next to Klein to help legitimize the sham.

It's all about obfuscating the issues to confuse people.

Call this playing both sides against the middle - which is where the interests of teachers who see first hand the testing sham that is going on. Why didn't the UFT survey ask whether teachers believed the test scores were real? Did they think it was easy? Relaxed rubrics? Full-time practice that could pump up scores? How about giving a random sampling surprise test the 2nd week of September to check on what was retained?

Expect more of this obfuscation on the national level - she will use carefully parsed language to give the impression she agrees with you but then do something to totally contradict herself. Watch the role she plays and what she ultimately accepts when NCLB gets discussed again. As long-time Randi watchers, the Ed Notes crew can pretty much write the speech now.

What will never take place is a democratic discussion in any official body of the UFT as to what the position of the UFT/AFT should be.


  1. Talking about obfuscation. She loves letting people think she's a teacher, like she did (yet again) in the interview I caught this morning with Richard Heffner on the Open Mind. (It may have been a re-broadcast.)

    He reminded the audience she was a "teacher," and she just sat there and agreed with him. Convinced yourself, dearie?

    There was a lot more obfuscation, like when she claimed that when the starting salary was raised 20% to 39,000-ish, it attracted so many applicants to the profession that they could put a qualified teacher in every classroom, qualified in both the subject and how to convey the material to students. Really? Grad students fresh out of college with a BA are now the same as fully qualified teachers? TFA's fresh out of college with a BA and a short training program are qualified teachers? That's who's in our classrooms these days, and tons more of them waiting in the wings once these push off to other professions.

    I'd like Weingarten to look not at a camera but straight into our eyes and tell us face to face that she's a teacher. Then tell us how "qualified" all the young teachers are in the system, as they step all over themselves trying to complete their MA in 2 years so they can leave. Betcha she couldn't do it with a straight face.

  2. They re just as qualified if not more so than Weingarten was. And she had a school hand-picked out for her - Clara Barton was a good place to be in the early-mid 90's when she was there for her 6 months of full-time teaching where everyone knew she was going to be the next UFT pres - think she got preferential treatment?

  3. How cynical is teachers' union big Randi Weingarten?

    NY Post Opinion PAge:
    Just look at her reaction last week to city schoolkids' substantial gains on state math and English exams.

    In a full page ad in Thursday's New York Times, Weingarten's United Federation of Teachers congratulated students on their progress - then laid into schools Chancellor Joel Klein for denying teachers "the support they need."


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