Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, January 12, 2015

So Long As Tests Are Used For High Stakes, Endless Test Prep In Schools Will Continue

Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan plans to "draw a line in the sand" in a speech calling for a NCLB revision, demanding that students still be tested every year in math and reading (3rd-8th grade) and he's going to add three tests in science during those years.

But it is said Duncan will call for an end to "unnecessary tests" in his speech:

Duncan won't back away from policies the Obama administration has embraced from the get-go. Those include investing in teacher quality—and teacher evaluations; a state-federal partnership on accountability akin to the NCLB waivers the administration granted; and, yes, maintaining NCLB's annual summative tests. As he's said before, Duncan sees annual statewide assessments as an important part of the picture when it comes to ensuring that all students, especially disadvantaged kids, are making academic progress.


The secretary is open to changes in how standardized tests are used. The administration also wants to allow states to incorporate measures other than test scores into their accountability systems—flexibility that's largely already offered to states through the NCLB waivers (even though many haven't taken advantage of it).

And the secretary wants to ensure that states and districts aren't going overboard with a lot of unnecessary or redundant tests, something he's signaled before by applauding efforts by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools to help their members take a hard look at their assessment systems and weed out unnecessary or low-quality tests.

Okay, here's the deal.

So long as state tests are used for high stakes decisions to close schools, evaluate teachers, etc., an unhealthy emphasis on testing and test prep will remain in operation.

That's the deal.

Duncan and other ed deformers can say "Oh, we want to lessen testing by getting rid of unnecessary tests or "low-quality tests" (whatever the hell that means - as far as I an tell, they're all "low-quality"), but the truth is, so long as state tests are used to bludgeon teachers, close schools, etc., there will be an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources spent on making sure as many students as possible pass the state tests.

That means the Era of Endless Test Prep will continue unabated in most schools despite Duncan's call for an end to "unnecessary tests."

And btw, the Education Privatization Secretary knows this, as do all the other reformers calling for an end to "unnecessary tests."

Duncan is trying to respond to the growing anti-testing movement, but he's simply paying lip service to it and not really listening.

Deformers need the testing to continue as high stakes because this is the weapon they use to destroy schools, teachers and public education.

You can see that in New York, where Cuomo complained about the Common Core roll-out and hammered NYSED and the Board of Regents over it, but still used the CCSS test scores as proof positive for why teachers suck and need to be fired.

Deformers need the tests to remain and they need the high stakes to remain to carry out their destructive plans to "break" the public school "monopoly."

It's a cynical ploy by Duncan and other deformers here to call for an end to "unnecessary tests" when they know that really won't change the obsessive testing culture in the system at all.

They need to be called on that cynical ploy.


  1. Not sure why they can't understand this. If the tests can get me fired then I'm spending as much time as necessary getting the kids to pass the test. If you don't want them to be overly emphasized then don't make it the determining factor of whether my family is going to eat or have a roof over their heads.

  2. So RBE, I'm a music teacher in NYC. They now want to increase the measures to 40% state instead of 20% state/20% local. This means for me (and others who are non regents subjects) that 40% of our evaluation is not related to our students or our teachings. How do you think this would hold up in court if I had to file?

  3. Looks like NYSED will face a huge amount of lawsuits!!

  4. I thought I read that someone sued in Florida or some other state for that and the judge said that while it was unfair, it was now the law in that state so they couldn't sue. Sounds like everyone under the sun should be sued for something so absurd. Let's fire a doctor at one hospital because some in another hospital died.

  5. I don't think the "deformers" are the cynical ones here, at least not in New York State.

    Test prep is ruinously bad for children. In a rare bow to the best interests of children, families, and educators, the legislature passed a law that places a strict cap on test prep. It is, as you note, being routinely flouted--even at schools with organized, principal-enabled "opt out" movements (hard to think of anything worse than that--months of test prep when you're opting out anyway).

    It is hard to take seriously, then, the rhetoric about tenure being the thin red line protecting what's best for kids. When you justify test prep and breaking the law, you completely cede the moral high ground, end of story.

    That there hasn't been a peep about this from all the various so-called parent "advocacy" groups tells you everything you need to know.