The Times article comes on the news that state officials have thrown out yet another question on one of the Pearson exams, this time from the fifth grade math exam.
Tisch told the Times she was taking responsibility for the bad questions on the tests, but that the exams were in no way invalidated by the plethora of errors plaguing them:
“I take full responsibility for all of these errors, I do, I do, do,” she added. “And I would hope that Pearson as a producer of these exams would join me in this responsibility.”
Ms. Tisch said that despite the errors, the tests were still a valid measurement of students’ academic abilities.
“Does it invalidate the test? Definitely not,” she said. “And anyone who says that is really just trying to push back, not only against the test, but against testing in general and against teacher evaluations in specific.”
King didn't take responsibility for the tests at all - he simply attacked people who were pointing out the errors in the tests:
At a Regents meeting on Monday, John B. King Jr., the commissioner of the State Education Department, suggested that the public outcry had less to do with the content of the exam and more with students’ access to social media and teachers’ concern about the new evaluation system, in which at least 20 percent of their rating will be based on their students’ test performance.
“In every administration of a test we’ve had, there’s always the occasion of a typo,” he said. “There is the occasional question that we have to adjust.”
Yeah - you see, there have always been "typos" in the tests (you know, like questions with two right answers or questions with no correct answers at all - "typos"!), but now these cowardly teachers are complaining about these "typos" because they're afraid of accountability and want to undercut the whole accountability movement by making a mountain out of a pineapple, er, molehill.
Meanwhile another principal has written to the unaccountable Dr. King to say these Pearson tests are abysmal and should be reviewed:
Days after a Brooklyn principal wrote a widely publicized letter of protest about the quality of this year’s new state standardized exams, another principal has written to John B. King Jr., New York’s education commissioner, to complain about the tests.
This time the letter comes from Sharon Emick Fougner, principal of Elizabeth Mellick Baker Elementary School in Great Neck, Long Island, who urged the commissioner to conduct a review of the math exam that was given to fourth to eighth graders last month.
She wrote that she was “quite honestly horrified by the content, format, language and presentation of this year’s exams.”
The tests for English language arts and math, administered during April, have been riddled with problems. Some parents have opted out of the test, and teachers and principals have criticized the questions.
Various questions have already been tossed out by the state.
The exams are new this year and were produced by the Pearson testing company under a five-year, $32 million contract. They are not being publicly released, ostensibly to prevent teachers and tutors from teaching to the new test.
Ms. Fougner said she was prompted to write to the commissioner because, “I really feel at this point that we are waging a war for the hearts and minds of our children. My obligation as a principal of a school and as an educator is to advocate first and foremost for children. I can’t watch what’s happening to our children without speaking out against it.”
Neither King nor Tisch have responded to Principal Fougner's letter yet.
But given the way King refuses to admit the tests are error-riddled and problematic (these are just "typos!" - 32 million dollar "typos"!) and Tisch's idea of responsibility is to say, "Yes, the tests are a problem and yes, Pearson needs to do better, but these tests are STILL going to be used to hold students back, fire teacher and close schools whether you like it or not!", I doubt the principal will get much satisfaction.
Until Pearson-shills Tisch and King are fired and we get a governor who doesn't carry water for the neo-liberal education deform movement/hedge fund industry, I doubt any of us opposed to these awful tests are going to get much satisfaction.