The growing focus on testing in New York’s schools is sickening students, bewildering and threatening to undermine public confidence in the state’s education system, speaker after speaker said Tuesday at a public hearing on the state’s “reform” agenda.
Jeanette Deutermann, a mother of two from Bellmore, said she had to take one son to the doctor last year because he was so stressed out by test preparation.
“I don’t care about the data; I don’t care about the statistics,” she said. “I care that I want my son to like to .”
Deutermann, who started a Facebook page for parents on Long Island wanting to pull their children from state-directed tests, was addressing the state Senate’s Education Committee. The committee Tuesday held the first of four planned hearings on the state’s ongoing reforms: the Common Core learning standards; new teacher evaluations; tougher state tests; new student data systems; and more.
And how did NYSED Commissioner John King take hearing parents criticize his education reform agenda?
He didn't take it all - he was too big a coward (or just too "big") to attend the hearing, so he sent his deputy, Ken Wagner, instead:
The soft-spoken Wagner, a well-liked former school psychologist, was on the defensive from the start. Standing in for Education Commissioner John King, he was peppered with questions about the state’s rush to roll out new standards and tests.
“There always has to be a year one,” he said. Wagner conceded the state has to more effectively explain its goals to teachers and parents.
The problem here is that John King and his merry education reformers at the NYSED don't think they have to explain anything to anybody.
As yesterday's Politico story on the rising opposition to Common Core makes clear, many education reformers haven't bothered to try and get buy-in from stakeholders like parents and teachers and instead have gone ahead with an autocratic imposition of the Common Core standards, the associated tests and "assessments," and the data tracking and teacher evaluation systems that go with all of this.
Only now, the education reformers are learning that people don't like having the wool pulled over their eyes, they don't like having questionable education reforms imposed on their children, and they don't like the arrogance with which the reformers have treated students, parents and teachers.
That arrogance was on display this week when NYSED Commissioner John King let his deputy commissioner take the heat for his agenda.
I can't say I'm surprised by this, of course.
King will show up at education reform symposiums where he can be feted by his fellow education reformers, but he's not going into a room full of people wanting to question him over evaluations, inBloom, Pearson and the rest of the education reform mess he has brought us.
He doesn't have the guts to do that.
What are you scared of, John?
Why don't you meet the parents and teachers face to face for some discussion over your reform agenda?
There are still three more meetings.
Clear your schedule and come defend your agenda in person instead of hiding behind your deputy.