ALBANY—The state Board of Regents on Monday moved toward finalizing a new regulation that make explicit a requirement that school districts to participate in "field testing."
State education department officials argued that the action was necessary to combat a growing movement of parents keeping their children from participating in field testing—the practice of administering test questions that aren't scored but serve to generate feedback for future exams.
The move comes at a time when parents and teachers’ unions have railed against standardized testing, especially relatively new state exams that are aligned to the Common Core standards. Parents have instructed their children to refuse tests, and unions have pushed state officials to increase transparency.
At least one Regent saw the problem with moving to mandate even more testing for children:
During debate at the meeting on Monday, Kathleen Cashin, a member of the Board of Regents who represents Brooklyn, questioned the timing of the regulation, given the controversy over testing in New York and nationally.
“Is this the time to mandate it, considering what we’ve been through in terms of testing?” she said. “I’m not refuting what you’re saying about validity. What I’m cautioning us to be aware of is, at a time when there is a tremendous anti-testing movement … why are we mandating it if we don’t have to?”
Indeed, one of the best things that could happen here is for Regents Chancellor Tisch - the Doyenne of Testing, as Diane Ravitch dubbed her - to move her Regents to mandate the field tests for districts.
There's been growing support for the opt-out movement, with more parents joining year by year.
You can see that in the numbers of opt-outs as well as the pushback Tisch and NYSED Commissioner King got on their "Common Core Tour."
But if the Regents vote to mandate the field testing for districts, they're going to start a fight with parents and teachers that makes the uproar King got in Poughkeepsie over Common Core look like a little skirmish.
So I say, go on Chancellor Tisch, mandate the field tests, punish districts that do not comply.
In the end you're only aiding the op-out cause by fanning the flames of anger and resentment over testing.