Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Real Score of High-Stakes Testing: "Kids Set to Firebomb Teachers in Tennessee"

Nothing better illustrates the impact of the red-scare McCarthy-like attacks going on against teachers than this piece from Tennessee where 50% of teacher evals will be based on test scores - and students are already planning their revenge on certain teachers they don't care for.

Note though the growing counterattacks by the good guys and gals.
Lawrence O'Donnell's passionate & reasoned defense of teachers (& even mentions class size!) on last night’s The Last Word :

Anderson Cooper explains why anyone who messes with Matt Damon has earned a spot on AC360's RidicuList

Before you dive in, check out this great piece about our guy on the PEP - with a semi-coherent quote by me.  Patrick Sullivan in the News - With a quote by some guy named Norm
The Anti-Chancellor: Scott Stringer’s education-board appointee objects to Dennis Walcott, again and again

National At-Risk Education Network

  The Real Score of High-Stakes Testing:

Damaged Students and Cheating Professionals


"Kids Set to Firebomb Teachers in Tennessee"

Excerpt from NAREN's July  survey of educators on high-stakes testing.  See full 27 page report at:

"Obviously no one understands high school kids and how they think. Next year Tennessee will base 50% of its evaluation, merit pay, promotion and retention on these state tests. A teacher found out from his son who is in a local high school that the kids have already circulated a list of teachers who they will be "fire bombing" by deliberately messing up their tests in hopes of getting the teachers fired. The kids have found out it doesn't effect their grades so they have formed these "Fire Bomb Lists" to deliberately screw up the tests with the wrong answers to get the teachers fired. Any teacher who puts a lot of pressure on them will go on the list, no doubt. My guess is you are going to have a LOT of sweet-talking teachers this year!"

--Tennessee HS Teacher

NAREN Central Office has released a startling and revealing report after administering a survey to a sampling of American teachers and administrators in early July of this year. Initiated by a bonfire of a story out of Atlanta where 178 educators in an organized "ring" were caught changing high-stakes testing scores. Similar stories out of Houston, Baltimore, and other cities began to surface. Newer allegations came forth regarding investigations of cheating by teachers in schools connected to the Race to the Top, high-stakes testing, merit-pay, and paying teachers based on test scores — even a SINGLE test score! Backed by and urged on by Arne Duncan, secretary of Education, and some larger figures in the news such as Bill Gates, Michele Rhee and big testing corporations birthed a movie titled Waiting for Superman, which basically said US schools were going to hell, and the call was for more pressure on teachers to perform. A reactionary film, Race to Nowhere, surfaced last year claiming that kids were under too much pressure as is. Then the cheating scandals illustrating the pressure on teachers finally encouraged our survey.

This 27-page report includes quotes from over 30 educators about the problems being caused by overemphasizing testing as a panacea for what ails our schools. The report shows clearly the opposite, i.e., the cure is worse than the disease. This report by Anthony S. Dallmann-Jones, PhD, NAREN Director, is available here. Names of teachers and administrators have been deleted to respect requests for anonymity. It will be apparent why this is needed.

Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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