The numbers are in. Thousands of parents – a third or more of them in some districts – are opting their children out of state tests next week.
The Buffalo News and Democrat and Chronicle editorial boards would like you to believe these parents were manipulated by unions and a fear little Johnny will get stressed out.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Improvement means change and New York State United Teachers are not much into that.
The only child-centric argument most opt-out supporters have is, “Tests stress kids out.”
Teachers have been whipped into a frenzy by union leaders who have lost their decades-long chokehold on state government, its citizens and the educational system.
These editorials completely missed the point of the opt-out movement and showed tremendous disrespect for the intelligence of their readers.
There are many reasons besides unions and children’s stress levels that people are opting out of the tests.
First, these tests will be used to measure teacher performance. There’s zero evidence supporting the use of test scores to measure teacher effectiveness. There’s quite a bit of evidence showing this evaluation method is deeply flawed.
The tests are also problematic in measuring student performance. State test data would have you believe only a third of students are proficient in math and English. The success of our suburban high schools, which make up the majority of student population, show differently. The state also sets the passing rate by deciding what score is needed to be deemed proficient – after the tests are taken. Not to mention, critics say these tests are not developmentally appropriate and poorly written.
There is also great concern about how the tests will be used to measure entire school buildings, which could face closure. The state is pushing state takeovers of schools deemed failing. The state is also pushing more charter schools. Many test critics have a problem with lucrative contracts for testing firms and the use of student data to help these firms profit.
Furthermore, these editorials miss a giant fact: Unions didn’t start the opt-out movement. Parents did. This is a grassroots movement. Unions didn’t get on board until this year. When they did so, editorial boards got tunnel vision and failed to see the big picture of this movement.
Now, there’s a movement to opt out of the Democrat and Chronicle. It’s okay to have unpopular editorials. Reasonable people can debate the merits of this movement. But at least make sure editorials are based in fact and well-reasoned. These editorials failed on both counts.
Links of the Day:
– Does standardized testing look out for kids’ civil rights?
– A state lawmaker wants to force schools to close on Election Day. bWhy? SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN. But nothing’s ever happened to a child during voting at a school. Bad things could happen anywhere (and 99.99999 percent of the time, don’t).
– This school’s dress code, fun as it is, has done nothing to get kids to pass Regents. The school is yet another failed experiment, per state test data.
– The Rochester teacher who brought a gun to the Statue of Liberty on a school field trip is back in a classroom.
– You know what will create jobs in Rochester? Innovation! The people who invent things and come up with new ways to do things will create the next Kodak. Carlson Cowork in Rochester is the type of hub that could lead to big things. Meanwhile, the state is throwing money at Start-Up New York, with few results.
– Senator Churck Schumer is squeezed on the Iran deal.
– The downtown Rochester Red Shirt program is in jeopardy.
– Some Upstate cities are marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s funeral train passage. Is Rochester doing anything?