Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, August 15, 2014

De Blasio, Farina Full of Shit On Test Scores

The lede of this Eliza Shapiro piece at Capital NY:

Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools chancellor Carmen Fariña on Thursday praised the slight improvement in citywide test scores while reiterating their shared ambivalence toward testing in general.
At a press conference at the Brooklyn Brownstone School to announce the scores, de Blasio said, "This is a good day for the whole New York City school system," before adding, "a school is not the sum of its test scores."

Then this:

De Blasio said his administration's ultimate goal is to have "100 percent proficiency for our children."
Added Fariña, "I won't be happy until at the end of this year I can stand before you and say we've doubled or tripled the amount of proficiency. It could be a lot better and will be and I promise you that."

Asked for specific goals for test score performance next year, de Blasio declined to give a precise figure, saying only that he expects performance to increase steadily.

Okay, let me get this straight - de Blasio doesn't think a school is the sum of its test scores but has the ultimate goal of 100% proficiency on the state tests and Farina is ambivalent about testing but won't be happy unless she sees double or triple the proficiency on state tests next year.

Which is is, folks - are you ambivalent about testing and convinced that a school (and thus a school district) is not the sum of its test scores or are you going to push for 100% proficiency on a measure you say you don't care about?

Dunno about you, but my bullshit meter went up here.

De Blasio and Farina don't get to have it both ways - either they have ambivalence about testing and emphasize multiple measures to evaluate schools, students and teachers or they get consumed by the scores and look to double and triple proficiency with the ultimate (and ridiculous) goal of 100% proficiency.

And of course the truth is, de Blasio and Farina care about the test scores a lot, even though they won't tell you they do, because all the really important people in this city, state and country do and if they don't get these test scores up those really important people are going to say mean and nasty things about them and declare them failures and so forth.

I wish they were more honest about this and tell us straight up rather than jive us with their "ambivalence" over the testing and the scores, but as George Carlin said, language gives you away always and you can see that in the language that de Blasio and Farina use that they care very much about the scores.


  1. 100 percent proficiency on state tests - why not just ask for 100 percent of all of us be millionaires, 100 percent of all of us be concert pianists, 100 percent of all of us be Baseball Hall of Famers, 100 percent of all of us live in an area where crime is 100 percent ABSENT. Realize it's the "right thing" to say, the "must thing" to say, but it is impossible and everyone who reads this and knows the system knows that is true. Can we stop it with the 100 percent proficiency thing already?

    1. De Blasio echoed NCLB, with it's 100% proficiency in all subgroups. So much for breaking with the past.

      And yes, you're right, he's speaking so he doesn't get a headline in the Post or DN hammering him - still, to see him say this while claiming test scores don't matter that much - he needed to be called on it.