Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Andrew Cuomo's New York: The State Where Teachers Get Fired Based Upon "Meaningless" Test Scores

Here's a tweet I sent to Governor Cuomo this morning:

Now the governor's probably still shaking off the sugar coma from last night's Sandra Lee Margarita Mix cupcakes, so he hasn't responded to my tweet just yet, but I do hope somebody from the state can explain to me, if the state test scores are "meaningless" as Governor Cuomo said Friday and students should just take the tests for "practice," how they can be used to rate teachers and sort them out for either bonuses on the high end or firing on the low end.

Here, again, is what Cuomo said Friday (courtesy of Jessica Bakeman and Laura Nahimas at Capital NY)

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday said parents who have chosen to have their children “opt out” of taking this month’s state exams don’t understand that the scores are “meaningless” in terms of students' grades.

“That’s their option,” Cuomo, referring to parents who have participated in the unprecedented boycott of state exams, told reporters after an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Manhattan. “What I don’t think has been adequately communicated is, we passed a law that stops the use of the grades on the test for the student. So the grades are meaningless to the student.”


“My position was, the department of education had not done a good job in introducing the Common Core, and they had rushed it, so we said, for a period of five years, the test scores won’t count,” Cuomo continued. “So they can opt out if they want to, but on the other hand, if the child takes the test as practice, then the score doesn't count anyway.”

Cuomo went on to hail his new teacher evaluation system, the third in the last four years in New York State, as an improvement over recent iterations:

Cuomo argued the new system cuts down on testing, addressing parents’ and students’ concerns.
“It also reduces student testing, because we believe they’re over-tested and over-stressed, and that’s generating a lot of angst among parents,” Cuomo said, inspiring hesitant applause from a few audience members.

“You should applaud for that,” the governor said, “because it’s true.”

A few more people clapped.

What Cuomo doesn't seem to understand or doesn't care to understand is that you can't say testing anxiety and overtesting have been reduced in the state if you put through an education reform agenda that forces schools to be taken over and teachers to be fired based upon the state tests.

It may be technically true that the new system includes fewer tests, what with the local performance measures going away, but a system with fewer tests doesn't translate into less test anxiety or, for that matter, less emphasis on testing, not when those fewer tests count so much more for teachers and schools.

What's made even worse is that the tests themselves are, as the governor said, "meaningless" for students and should just be taken with the mindset that they're "practice" tests.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not all that thrilled to hear that the governor thinks it's perfectly okay to make my teaching job contingent in part on "practice" tests that are "meaningless" to students.

That Cuomo thinks it's a swell defense of his education reform agenda to say the test grades are "meaningless" and just "practice" for students but high stakes for teachers and schools tells you everything you need to know about his education reform agenda.

It has nothing to do with children and everything to do with firing teachers and closing schools so they can be handed over to his charter school supporters.


  1. In one brief flash of pure stupidity, Governor Cuomo has opened up the floodgates of future litigation. There is no way to walk this gaff back. he needs to be pummeled incessantly with his own words. And we should demand that he explain how "meaningless practice tests" can be used to fairly evaluate teachers and schools, now that student motivation have been completely undermined by his own words.

    1. Great point concerning litigation. Another question Cuomo needs to explain is why he would turn over the development of regulations regarding teacher evaluations to an education department that had not done a good job in implementing his beloved Common Core Standards. You cannot make this nonsense up--NY State public education has been turned into one huge fiasco by the deformers. Every time they open their mouth they spout more complete non-sense then go off and hide until after another legislator is indicted (taking the pressure off them to explain their nonsense). Usually, they only need to wait a week, or two before they can stick their head out again!

    2. NYSED, BOR, and Cuomo have become a laughing stock. The tests are a joke, APPR is a bad joke, and everyone on the trenches knows it. There are very few Koolaid drinkers left.

  2. Tell Mulgrew to make another commercial featuring Cuomo expounding on the meaninglessness of the tests.