Faced with mounting and bipartisan opposition to increased and often high-stakes testing in the nation’s public schools, the Obama administration declared Saturday that the push had gone too far, acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to step back and make exams less onerous and more purposeful....“I still have no question that we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support,” said Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, who has said he will leave office in December. “But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’m in with educators who are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction.“It’s important that we’re all honest with ourselves,” he continued. “At the federal, state and local level, we have all supported policies that have contributed to the problem in implementation. We can and will work with states, districts and educators to help solve it.”
So long as teachers and schools are rated based upon test scores, the "cap" on testing time the Obama administration educrats talk about is meaningless.
In New York State, teachers currently have 20% of their ratings based upon state test scores (even if they don't teach classes that end with state tests) and 20% based upon so-called "local assessment" measures that may be state test data crunched a different way.
Last spring Governor "I want to break the public school monopoly" Cuomo shoved through a reiteration of the evaluation system tied to school funding that increases the weight of state test scores to 50% because not enough teachers were being rated ineffective and fired under the old system.
In addition, he shoved through a school receivership plan that forces "persistently struggling schools" to increase their test scores in one year and "struggling schools" to increase their test scores in two years or be taken over by the state.
With such a test-centric environment (one that was absolutely encouraged by the Obama administration's Race to the Top program and their NCLB waiver system), the Obama educrats can call for a cap on testing time all they want - nothing about the system will change so long as the scores are used to fire teachers and close schools.
In any case, the administration isn't going to put out "guidelines" until January on the testing changes, so for now all we have is some meaningless rhetoric that may excite Randi Weingarten but will have little practical effect on what happens to all the overtesting that is currently going on in schools.
In short, the Endless Testing regime continues no matter the Obama administration public relations statements.
UPDATED - 3:35 PM: Peter Greene points out in comments that the Obama administration has hawked this testing cap gambit before.
He's got a new post analyzing today's announcement and finds they're
offering pointless PR nuggets and avoiding the real discussion, which is why, exactly, we need the BS Tests at all, and what possible justification there is for using the BS Tests to measure, rank and rate students, teachers or schools.
But the tests are a "civil right," don'tcha know?