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.
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.