Farina says she plans to focus on the 2nd, 7th and 10th grades as benchmarks for how children are progressing academically, socially and emotionally - how she plans to evaluate social and emotional development is beyond me, though I suspect it will have something to do with that all-purpose word these days that reformers throw around when they talk social and emotional learning - "grit".
In any case, Farina says for 10th graders she plans to use college and career readiness benchmarks to ensure that students are progressing:
Once students get to tenth grade, Fariña said, “they are most likely going to graduate.”
“Are they going to graduate in two years, three years, or four years, and are they going to be on the right path to going on to college? The college readiness rate in high school is crucial, it’s not about graduating per say, it’s about if you go to college, will you stay here,” Fariña said.
Fariña attributed part of the bleak college and career readiness figure to the emphasis on rote memorization and standardized testing, saying, “if all you’re going to do is test prep, and you’re learning for a robotic system, when you get to college that’s not really going to help you.”
So the college and career readiness figure is bleak because the rote memorization and standardized mechanization that goes into test prep harms children and makes them into robots - okay, I get that and I agree with that.
But is the chancellor familiar with how the system currently measures so-called college and career readiness?
Because unless I missed something over the last few months, I'm pretty sure it's by test scores - as in 75 on the ELA Regents and 80 on the Math Regents or 520 on the ELA and math sections of the SAT respectively.
Now the way many students hit those benchmarks - 75 on the ELA Regents/80 on the Math Regents or 520 on the math and ELA sections of the SAT - is through a shitload of rote memorization and test prep.
I know, because I've taught both (SAT prep was my first teaching job back in 2000; I teach ELA Regents classes every year.)
It's great to talk about helping students socially, emotionally and academically to be prepared for college and career, but to make believe like the metrics that measure these things are based upon anything but testing data is absurd.
Carmen Farina is a smart woman, I'm sure she knows this.
And yet, she continues to pay homage to the all-mighty test data while claiming testing data is no longer all-mighty in the NYCDOE.