Yesterday a City Councilman from Queens hammered Bloomberg's plan:
In light of today’s A1 New York Times story about the Bloomberg administration’s plans to administer a dozen new standardized tests in order to evaluate not students, but teachers, Queens City Councilmember Mark Weprin is out with a statement blasting the mayor and the Department of Education.
“These tests will do nothing to improve education in our public schools and will only continue to sap time and resources that should be going toward helping our children learn,” Weprin said. ”Enough is enough. It is time for parents to rise up and give the DOE a wake-up call. Stop the insane obsession with testing.”
Weprin noted that the city planned to use $64 million it received in federal Race to the Top money in order to pay for the increased testing regimen during a time when schools are losing arts, music and phys ed classes, especially since the money is going not toward students, but towards teachers.
“At a time when DOE is planning to lay off teachers, choosing to spend sixty-four million dollars on additional standardized tests is truly an outrage,” said Council Member Mark Weprin. “In short, the children are being used.”
Weprin, it should be noted, is not a particular fervent critic of the mayor, but has often disagreed with his reliance on high-stakes tests.
I agree this is an outrage - whether the system is facing a budget shortfall or not, adding a dozen new standardized high stakes tests for children to take so that their teachers can be evaluated with the scores is a really, really bad idea.
But this has ALWAYS been the plan - at Tweed, at the NYSED, at the USDOE, and certainly at the Gates and Broad Foundation, where most of the funding for this garbage is coming from.
Perhaps we need a new rule for politics - politicians don't get to make rules and regulations about public education when they send their kids to the Sidwell Friends School or some other elite private school.
You can be sure parent Obama would NEVER allow his girls to receive an education at a school where they took a dozen or more standardized tests a year so that their teachers could be evaluated by the results.
You can bet parent Obama would NEVER allow his girls to attend a school where teachers were forced to engage in nothing but test prep and test administration.
Same goes for Duncan, Klein, Bloomberg, Gates, et al.
But this IS the plan they are pushing on everybody else.
It IS time to stop them.
It starts by putting an end to the city plan to add a dozen tests to the school year in addition to the new state tests that will be introduced those same years.
Then it continues by ending mayoral control so that one man, one autocratic despot, cannot push his agenda on everybody else and there is nothing anybody can do about it.
And then it continues by changing the laws in Albany so that teacher evaluations are NOT tied to test scores (and especially not tied to a measurement system with a 12%-36% MOE.)
Hard work, this. Perhaps we will not be successful at it. But students and parents and teachers and politicians with actual children in actual public schools seem to be overwhlemingly in favor of ending many of the most damaging ed deforms.
Especially this test mania.
Or as Weprin called it, this insane obsession with testing.