Monday, December 3, 2007

Sign our petition against the new school grades and for smaller classes today!

Class Size Matters has a new online petition, asking that the school grading system be terminated, and all the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on the DOE’s ill-conceived overemphasis on standardized testing and test scores be redirected towards reducing class size and expanding the capital plan.

Our online petition is posted here. Please go sign it now! We’d like as many signatures as possible by the City Council hearings on the new school grades, scheduled for Dec. 10.

(If you’d like more info on why the grading system is unfair, arbitrary and will hurt rather than help our schools, check out my Daily news oped, Why Parents and teachers should reject the new school grading system, posted here (as a word doc) or on the News website here. Also: Ten reasons to distrust the new accountability system and "Negative learning" and statistical malpractice at the Panel on Educational Policy for more.)

North Carolina, a state that over ten years ago pioneered the move towards more testing, is about to reverse course. See N. Carolina begins to turn away from testing.

“We're testing more but we're not seeing the results," said Sam Houston, the commission's chairman. "We're not seeing graduation rates increasing. We're not seeing remediation rates decreasing. Somewhere along the way testing isn't aligning with excellence."

Here in NYC, rather than be satisfied with all the existing state tests, and the new interim assessments now being given five to six times each year, the administration want to start adding new standardized tests in science and perhaps other subjects next year, as well as yet additional tests for grades K-2.

Rather than go down that same road that North Carolina is now rejecting, Tweed needs to be woken up from its delusion that more testing means more learning, as quickly as possible, before things get even worse.

Please sign our petition today! The full text is below.

We are vehemently opposed to the new DOE school grading system. These grades are unfair, simplistic and arbitrary, are based on statistically unreliable measures, and will hurt rather than help our schools.

By awarding each school a grade from A to F, the progress report trivializes the complexity of teaching, and will drive schools towards even more test prep and less learning, as well as further deprive our children of art, music, and physical education.

We demand that the energy, focus, personnel and millions of dollars that have been spent on devising this system, as well as the entire data collection system known as ARIS, interim assessments, financial incentives for high test scores, and “data inquiry teams” in the name of “differentiated instruction” be instead invested in reducing class size and expanding the capital plan, so that all NYC children can be provided with smaller classes and an equitable and adequate chance to learn.

1 comment:

Pissedoffteacher said...

An APO friend of mine told me that his school's admin's got performance bonuses for 05/06 year and then got an F rating in 07. Doesn't make sense? Even he doesn't know how they got the bonus. These ratings and bonuses have got to go.