To see where public education is being driven, let’s look at a school district in North Carolina where students in every grade were used as guinea pigs this spring to help field-test a total of 52 -- yes, 52 -- new standardized tests this spring, kindergarteners included.
This is happening in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools, which spent nearly $2 million to test the tests so that a new teacher evaluation system can be implemented that grades teachers on how well their students do on standardized tests, the Charlotte Observer reported.
As a result, next year there will be more standardized testing experiments in subjects, such as art and music, currently without a standardized test to call their own.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg officials conceded on the district website that the testing and pay-for-performance program “have generated intense interest and in some cases, anxiety or fear.” but then tried to explain why opponents are misinformed and incorrect. They aren’t.
Many educators and parents are petrified because they know that high-stakes standardized tests don’t measure real learning and result all too frequently in narrowed curriculum, cheating and a climate of fear. And linking student test scores to teachers’ grades is plain unfair, given that teachers don’t control most of the factors that go into how a student is prepared to take a test on any given day.
This is just one of the districts in states across the country -- with the support of the Obama administration-- that are implementing new evaluation systems that link teachers’ pay to test scores.
Some grade teachers on their own students’ scores, while others grade them on the school’s scores. Either way, teachers unfairly lose. Assessment experts say that these tests weren’t designed to be used in this fashion, and that the results are invalid and unreliable.
That hasn’t stopped Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Peter Gorman, according to the Observer, from “proudly” declaring that his district will lead the nation when the tests are officially inaugurated. That will be quite the accomplishment.
The tests were created by an organization called Measurement Inc., at a cost of about $1.9 million, the Charlotte Observer reported. The total number of exams given across all grade levels was 52. Each of the tests taken by students in kindergarten, and first and second grades, had about 30 “tasks”; the tests for students in grades three through 12 had about 60 multiple-choice questions, according to the district’s website.
And as I have noted over and over, THIS has been wrought by Obama.
THIS is his policy, promoted through Race to the Top and eventually No Child Left Behind Jr. or whatever he is calling the reauthorization these days.
He can say teaching to the test is damaging to education all he wants when people ask him questions at events.
He is FULL OF SHIT when he answers that he doesn't believe education should be reduced to tests and tests scores.
He clearly does or he wouldn't promote an education system that does EXACTLY that.
Change we can believe in indeed.