Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A "teachable" moment for us all

For parents who are understandably agonized about the steep drop in state test scores at their children’s schools, as reported by the NY State Ed Dept. and various news outlets today, this is what they should keep in mind:

  • Since the city experienced a 34-39% decline in the percent of students scoring at proficiency; any school that saw a drop smaller than that is doing okay.
  • However bad a school’s test scores, it is not the fault of teachers, principals, parents or the kids themselves; it is the fault of the people running the system. Their names are Bloomberg and Klein, and they should hang their heads in shame. For years, they have insisted that the state exams were more reliable than the NAEPs, and refused to make the real reforms that would improve our children’s opportunity to learn, like reducing class size. And since their value-added achievements which they insist should determine teacher pay and tenure are next to nil; they should be forced to resign.
  • The state is also at fault by colluding in the fiction of improving test results for the past five years, all to make it seem as though their high-stakes accountability policies were producing results.
More than anything else, as Steve Koss writes below, today's revelations (which are not revelations to people who have been reading this blog) should teach us all that TEST SCORES ARE NOT EVERYTHING.

Our kids – and our schools –should excel in all areas, not just on standardized tests, and the more policymakers focus on test scores to the exclusion of all else, as has happened in recent years, the less real learning will occur in our schools and the more our children will suffer.

It's as though a doctor only weighed his patients, and decided on that basis alone whether they were healthy. Not only could the scale be defective, as occurred in this case; but even if not, the patient could be slowly dying, and he would never know.


NYC Educator said...

Amazingly, neither the News nor the Post even mention Bloomberg when editorializing about this. They don't like to be dissuaded by facts.

Anonymous said...

as a semi-retired NYC educator I have never been much for standardized tests
It's time for someone to wake up and recognize what the rest of the world already knows: Teach to the whole child integrate all learning domains and begin at birth.

Anonymous said...

I'm no lawyer, but isn't there some kind of class action suit possible here? Haven't we really robbed anyone who has earned a diploma in the last few years of their lawful entitled education? Surely there must be some monetary value there. I'd like to hear the opinion of someone who is a lawyer.

susan said...

Thanks for your nice article about "A "teachable" moment for us all".I read your article its very nice.I enjoy to read this type of article.Great job...


Anonymous said...

The news about the fraudulent test scores is very sad for children, educators,and parents. A possible silver lining, no pun to Sheldon, is that this will surely create a major problem for mayor Mike if he has aspirations for the presidency. Even his billions cannot overcome the fact of his failure regarding his signature piece, education.