Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, October 7, 2013

Washing Away The Reformers

Here's a comment I left on a Capital NY article about the Common Core test scores:

The processes to determine proficiency are political decisions made by humans in the NYSED and at the Board of Regents. 

NYSED Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Tisch would have people believe these so-called proficiency rates were given down from the mount and are objective, scientific measures of what students know and what they can do. 

They are not. 

Tisch and King decided very early on, in a political decision made to support their reform agenda, that the scores would be bad so that they could sell New Yorkers on their "innovative" and "rigorous" education reform agenda that encompasses, among other things, expanded charter school creation, endless testing, teacher evaluations based upon test scores, firing teachers who do not show improvement by "adding value" to their students scores and taking over "failing" districts and giving the "death penalty" to failing schools (as Governor Andy so succinctly put it.)

They had tests developed using the Common Core standards before the state or districts developed much in the way of any Common Core curricula or materials for teachers to use to prepare students.

Then they made sure there were a lot more test items so that students would have difficulty finishing the new exams.

Finally they set the cut scores at a level that they knew would detonate like a nuclear bomb on the districts, schools, teachers and students around the state.

They pushed all this through at the same time they were pushing through a new evaluation system rating teachers on student scores based on these very tests.

It's not an accident that New York couldn't wait to get the tests right before they pushed through the eval system and it's not an accident they couldn't wait to get the evaluation systems right before attaching high stakes to them.

You see, King and Tisch do not care if the system is right or not.

Nor does Governor Andy.

They care only that they have a testing system in place that allows them to sell the message that the public education system everywhere in the state is in crisis and a teacher evaluation system in place that allows them to blame the problem on teachers and fire them.

This is shock doctrine stuff, pure and simple, and was exposed by Education Week blogger Rick Hess in his now famous "Common Core Kool Aid" piece (link below.)

But what Tisch, King, Cuomo and the rest of the merry reformers do not realize is that a groundswell anti-testing and anti-reform movement is growing across the state and will wash them away soon if they are not careful.

Former Joel Klein deputy John White realizes it - he gave a speech at AIG about it (link below.)

And so does reformer and turnaround expert extraordinaire Paul Vallas - he even told it to John King's face at a CUNY education reform forum (link below.)

More and more people are seeing what the reformers have done with these Common Core tests, how they rigged the scores, ratcheted up the difficulty levels and engineered the scores they wanted and they will not get away with this much longer.

The revolt against these corporate education reformers with their rigged tests and privatization agendas has begun - from Port Jefferson Station to Syracuse.

Perhaps even here in NYC where a mayor who ran against testing and charter schools looks like he'll win the race for City Hall and put a halt to the Bloomberg reforms (if he holds true to his campaign pledges.)

King and Tisch, Governor Andy and the rest of the reformers are an arrogant bunch and they think they've got this thing all sewn up and done.

They are going to be surprised in the coming months how much anger there is out there from students, parents, teachers and administrators over what they have done to the public school system in this state.

If they are not careful, it will wash them away.

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