SCHOOLBOOK: Why are we hearing complaints about children in kindergarten through second grade being given extra assessments that are taking time away from class?
SCHWARTZ: That would depend upon the strategy that was locally collectively bargained. There may be some districts in which they decided that they were going to give a pretest. But that was something that they decided, and we have offered other alternatives for districts that want to take a different direction.
SCHOOLBOOK: What would those alternatives be? You're saying children don't have to take an extra assessment?
SCHWARTZ: No, what I was saying is that in some cases you can use information that is already in hand as the pre-test. In some cases you can use a group measure for the students. In that case, the teachers essentially are using one assessment that may be covering a variety of other teachers in other subjects. So in that case, there are no additional assessments that would need to be used because there's an agreement by that collective bargaining unit that all of the teachers will collectively be assessed based upon a particular assessment.
SCHOOLBOOK: It sounds very confusing.
SCHWARTZ: It is not confusing, it is complex. And it is new. And so when things are new they are unfamiliar and as we all continue to learn about this system, it will become something that will become much clearer to everyone. The confusion will hopefully disappear.
When tests connected to teacher evaluations cannot be explained in a very few simple steps, there is a problem.
The geniuses at SED have very simple problem, which is, the system they created is so "complex" that people find it "confusing" and if the geniuses at SED cannot make the "complex" issue a little less "confusing," that complex system is going to go the way of the Edsel.
Also, as a commenter notes on the NYC story:
Schoolbook, this may be true for the state. But what about for NYC? The local measures for teacher evaluations require tests. Period. Please add it to your story.
So the solution to make the "complex" problems around testing and evaluations that people are finding "confusing" cannot be solved by the genius solution stated by the genius SED employee because the genius SED Commissioner imposed a system that requires tests - and lots of 'em.