Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Walcott Denies Parent Choice - to Opt Out of High Stakes Tests

So tonight CEC6 met with Chancellor Walcott and, among other issues, we raised our concerns with the negative impact that high stakes testing is having on our children's education.  I'll spare you the (much abbreviated) rationale we offered for our concerns, but we proposed that the DOE develop a policy for parents who wish to opt their children out of the high stakes tests in a non-punitive fashion so that our children do not suffer (more).  His response, according to someone who wrote it down: "No I won't accept that resolution." Well, there you have it; the Chancellor will not support a DOE policy that will allow us parent the CHOICE to opt our kids out and avoid the mind-numbing, educationally stunting test prep and testing that dominates the 6 weeks post-February break.
Nice.   ----- NYC Parent

Well of course Choice is only used by ed deformers when it refers to charters. Parent choice to opt out of tests or make a choice to call for lower class size over spending big bucks on Tweed consultants.

Don't you think all politicians should publish their SAT scores before they can run for office? Just a thought. And an ugly one at that. Even more ugly:  male politicians should publish their penis size. After all, since they are going to fuck us the public has a right to see the data on the equipment.

Then there's the test mania, pineapples, opting out (come to the Change the Stakes meeting on Weds. at CUNY at 5:30, rm 4202).

Here are just a few tidbits:

A NYC parent:
My husband, a middle school teacher whose classroom routine was
interrupted for state testing, is now removed from the classroom for
five days to grade the ELA tests. Actually, one day is spent training
him to grade the tests. While he's away, his classes are covered by a
substitute teacher, hired by his principal. This is yet another waste
of already-shrinking school budgets and masks the economic impact of
all this testing, since the DOE doesn't have to absorb this cost. The
school does. Additionally, the kids aren't learning from their
And other NYC Parents
Yes- it is unacceptable- and to boot schools can choose instead to pay a heft fee to NOT send teachers to correct exams.
 This is the system in place since 2008 when Deputy Chancellor Grimm, at the time head of Finance,  announced among other "huge cuts to the central budget"  that more money would go to schools /classrooms.
 One of these "savings" was ' a new way to correct the assessments'.

 Well, when we dug just a little we learned that the supposed tens of millions in savings was just an offload of the costs to correct the test from central accounting to the schools!

 Instead of centrally hiring teachers outside of school time and paying them per session as HAD been done, now schools were supposed to send in a number of teachers (proportionate to testing grades/ regardless of size/configuration) to correct the tests during the school day for weeks at a time.

 I traced this new expense in my district schools and found:
  an elementary school that had spent tens of thousands of dollars in funding on subs to cover the test correcting teachers taken form the classroom (after English and before the math tests);
  a high needs middle school that did w/o ESL or special ed instruction for 2 weeks in order to send those teachers, instead of core classroom teachers, to correct the tests;
  and even a brand new MS that only had a 6th grade staff/students in its first year but had to send staff to correct 6, 7, 8th grade exams.

Of course there was no check/balance or any type of  authority or watch dog to even catch the DoE at these tricks. Which is how they get away with it!
I have the second group of five teachers out for the next five days at my school and spent the school day running around making sure subs were doing what teachers off grading had requested. A complete waste of time. An outrage which seems to have outraged no one. The money stolen from schools, the loss of class time, the fact that teachers whose job is to teach must spend their time being trained to grade these mediocre tests. I find all of this far far far far worse than another single day of field testing in June. You give six days of lousy tests and then remove teachers to grade for 15 school days!!!!! all to save a secret amount of money. I estimate the cost should be 16 million dollars. An in-kind contribution from your families like yours!!!!!
I'm trying to pinpoint the wording in the administrators guideline that is
being interpreted as Make the kids sit still and do nothing after they
finish their tests.  I can't find anything to that effect in the guidelines.
Can you point me to it?  All I can find is the directive to not let them
bring anything into the testing room.  Nowhere does it say that they can't
be given anything to do once they complete the test.

From Leonie:

Leaked absurd memo from Pearson defending the Pineapple story

Everyone should read this memo.  It is one of the most surreal things I have ever read., unbelievably, the Pineapple passage & questions have been used 27 times before, in 5 other states, and three large districts!

It just shows how the testing companies have been allowed to run rampant over our kids, with no accountability and no one looking over their shoulder.  Poor Alabama kids, who have been subjected to this passage 8 times since 2004; though you would think eventually they would catch on.

State administrations include:
• Alabama 2004-2011
• Arkansas 2008-2010
• Delaware 2005-2010
• Illinois 2006-2007
• New Mexico 2005-2007
• Florida 2006
Large District Administrations:
• Chicago 2006-2007
• Fort Worth
• Houston

And look at the author’s name: Jon S. Twing, Ph.D. Executive Vice President & Chief Measurement Officer, Pearson
Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/05/04/pineapplegate-exclusive-memo-detailing-the-hare-and-the-pineapple-passage/2/#ixzz1tvAaHQzF

A perfect object lesson in why psychometric pseudo
science (and justifying babble) should not replace real live human qualified and trained TEACHERS and teacher-generated assessments.

Why trust this flawed model with evaluating the teaching and learning of our kids, teachers, schools and districts?
 And why cut our school budgets to the bone so we can afford these outrageous for-profit vendors, when we (under) pay teachers and administrators to assess effective teaching and learning every day?

This is a sham,  a scam and all about the ADULTS, not the kids! 

Please Take the Tests & Publish Your Scores

May 4, 2012 //
We have a plethora of governors, legislators, and state commissioners of education who are gaga over standardized testing, They can’t imagine a child who is not taking a test today, tomorrow, and next week. They want to test everything: not only reading and math, but the arts, science, civics, history, foreign languages, physical education, you name it and they want to test it.
When the test-lovers see low scores, they want to find the teacher swho did it and fire them. They can’t see any reason for low scores other than those darn teachers. They want “great” teachers and they figure the way to get them is to keep teachers insecure and intimidated. That’s sure to attract the best and brightest!
When the test-lovers see low scores, they not only want to fire teachers, they want to close the schools where those kids are enrolled and hand them over to private managers. The private managers will kick out the kids with low scores and find some students who have a better shot at getting those better scores. That’s called progress. Nobody wants those kids with low scores. Send ‘em back to the public schools that haven’t been closed yet.
I have a modest proposal for the officials–elected and appointed–who are so test-happy.
They should take the tests and publish their scores. If they aren’t willing to take the tests and publish their scores, they should pipe down.
Just a thought.

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