Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cuomo Hails Obama Administration's Call For Less Testing

I know, I know - you're thinking there's no way that the guy who just increased the test score component in his APPR teacher evaluation system to 50% and imposed a school receivership program on the state that will turn "struggling" and "persistently struggling" schools to charter operators if they don't turn their test scores around in either a year (for "persistently struggling schools") or two (for "struggling schools") would hail the Obama administration's "We want less testing!" PR statement today.

But that's just what Cuomo did:

Here's the Cuomo statement in full - try not to drink anything while reading it so that you don't pay homage to Danny Thomas:

“Today, the Obama administration took an important step toward improving our nation’s education system. I agree with President Obama and Secretary Duncan that we must reverse the overemphasis on testing that has become the norm in too many of our schools, and that is exactly what we have been doing in New York. In 2014, we banned standardized testing for students in pre-kindergarten through 2nd grade, capped test preparation to two percent of learning time, and required the State Education Department to help districts eliminate unnecessary standardized tests for all other students. However, I believe that we need to do more, and that is why I have asked the State’s Common Core Task Force to examine ways to reduce the anxiety of our students by reducing the number and length of tests, as well as making sure that tests are appropriate for the age and education level of all of our students. Their review will be central to how we build on our past accomplishments. I commend President Obama for this action, and I am hopeful that this lead to a higher quality education for all American children.” ​

Here was my twitter response to Cuomo:

Now for the blog response:

Cuomo's doing his best to make it look like he's listening to parents upset that so much time, energy and resources are spent on high stakes standardized tests and test prep for their children, but the reality is, this is just another education dog and pony show in a long litany of education dog and pony shows put on by Cuomo to make it look like real change is coming to education when no change is coming at all.

First, Cuomo himself was the one insisted test scores become 50% of his APPR teacher evaluation system.

Next, Cuomo himself insisted that a school receivership plan be imposed that gives NYSED the power to take over schools based, in part, upon test scores.

Both these moves came just last spring in the budget - Cuomo forced them through, saying legislators either had to take the budget whole or vote it all down.

Then he called for a Common Core Review right before school started in September, but refused to add his APPR system to the review, thus ensuring that teachers will continue to have 50% of their evaluations based upon state tests, with two years of "ineffective" ratings possibly resulting in 3020a incompetence charges and three years of "ineffective" ratings definitely resulting in 3020a incompetence charges.

In fact, in the past when Cuomo was calling public schools a "monopoly" that needed to be broken, he was claiming his APPR teacher evaluation system was the "bedrock" of his education reform agenda.

This would be the same APPR teacher evaluation system that is in the court system, btw, because one teacher's test score component went from 14 out of 20 one year to 1 out of 20 the next year even as her students got almost the same scores on their state tests (the next year, her test component jumped back to 11.)

And yet, despite the inexplicable and irrational jumps in how test scores measured, Cuomo refuses to allow the system to be a part of his Common Core Review.

Now all of a sudden he's hailing the Obama administration so-called call for less emphasis on testing even as he has imposed more and more emphasis on testing here in New York and refused to have his evaluation system that so emphasizes testing be part of his Common Core Review?

Please, governor, your statement hailing President Obama for doing nothing other than issuing some rhetoric that a testing re-do is coming (which Peter Greene points out was done last year by the Obama administration as well) is as laughable as your claim you couldn't see Zephyr Teachout at the Labor Day Parade last year.

You fool few with this jive, just as Obama, Duncan and King fool few with their empty rhetoric over a testing cap.

When parents see that, despite the call for less testing coming from the Obama DOE and you, the same amount of time, energy and resources are spent on testing in the coming years because teachers will be fired and schools closed if the scores are "bad" and you refuse to change those mandates, they'll know who is to blame.


  1. In my humble opinion, one hour of standardized testing is excessive. What would happen if we were to relegate teaching to professional educators?

    Abigail Shure

    1. As one of our reformers might say, teaching is simply too important to be left to teachers.

  2. This whole reform movement is a load of crap. Why hasn't one person asked why we don't attempt to emulate the educational systems of the countries that are kicking our butts?

    They have ZERO interest in doing that. $$$$$$$$$$$

  3. Test prep for standardized tests should be abolished in schools - Our schools are turning into test prep factories. ,The state tests are just administered in different formats (Common formative assessments) - throughout the year. You cannot reduce testing AND require "accountability" that is based on tests. It doesn't matter what changes a "committee" makes to the test - they will still be used to measure and punish schools, students, and teachers. This in turn creates a culture of fear and school leaders react by mandating MORE practice tests. Therefore, their call for reducing testing is meaningless.

  4. Quid Pro Quomo now a chameleon and not chief lobbyist for students...this is funny!

  5. Test score seems an big issue in many different ways. If you want to take admission in any school/college than you must have perform in test.