Read My Stories on Wattpad

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Test Scores for Dummies – And, No, the Kids Are Not the Dumb Ones


First appeared on Blogcritics.

dummies acne-truthA recent report in the NY Daily News indicated that NY State Education Commissioner John King had fired off a note to principals across the city informing them that standardized test scores were going to be “significantly” lower than 2011-2012 scores. This is preparing us for “disastrous” results with shocking implications for students, teachers, and their parents.

For those of you across the country reading this story, consider this as a preview of a horror movie coming soon to a theatre near you. As the Common Core State Standards are being used in 46 states, and testing everywhere will be aligned to them, it is only a matter of time for this to go viral, like an education zombie horde that will seem worse than anything you would have seen in World War Z.

bloom solar1.orgThe “dummies” here are not the poor kids subjected to ludicrous testing conditions but guys like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, so intent on ramming his education agenda down people’s throats (think banning big soft drinks, too many traffic cameras, and stop and frisk to name a few) that no caution was taken as to the people this testing would affect most – teachers and students. Bloomberg and his fellow dummy, Governor Andrew Cuomo, wanted so much to break the teachers’ unions, that they saw tying test scores to teacher’s evaluations as their golden ticket. Faster than you could say “Willy Wonka” teachers discovered that the new CCSS (in which they received inadequate training to begin with) were going to be linked to state tests, which is akin to telling an intern he can perform surgery before taking any classes.

uft daily newsSo teacher evaluations tied to the test scores would allow Bloomberg and Cuomo to eliminate teachers in their quest to reinvent education in New York (which basically means destroy unions, fire teachers, and close regular schools in favor smaller charter schools). Unfortunately, on the way to the party Bloomberg and Cuomo forgot the people who matter most – the kids. Or maybe they didn’t care if their test scores fell precipitously off the Common Core cliff; after all, their means to an end had to be accomplished despite any collateral damage, right?

Educators and parents are rightly outraged by these dummies who are trying to shove this travesty down our throats. United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew rightly called it when he noted that “(Bloomberg) never realized that real learning means more than endless test prep.” So it is clear that these test scores used to promote students, give principals bonuses, and decide if teachers keep their jobs are going to look like Anthony Weiner’s mayoral campaign – dead on arrival. Sadly, DOA test scores hurt all the people they were supposed to be designed to help. This calls into question not only the implementation of Common Core in the state, but also the dummies who decided to align state testing to the standards, and those who then deemed it appropriate to make all this count in a year of upheaval and uncertainty.

We parents, educators, and all citizens should be lodging a litany of complaints about the “endless test prep” that went on in city schools. It is also worth noting that the practice of “test prep” (as every educator knows) is usually a dead end, with students forgetting most of what has been rammed down their throats even before the answer sheet with the little circles is put on their desks. It is salient that Bloomberg and Cuomo are keeping quiet (as dummies oft do when their supposedly brilliant ideas are exposed as idiocy) even as Commissioner King warned principals to use the poor scores “judiciously” when deciding to fire teachers.

Can you imagine the implications of even one principal trying to remove one teacher based on these specious testing results? I can only hope that all teachers who may receive this kind of news beat a quick path to the lawyer’s office. The city and state should have a grand time facing the litigation that awaits them because of their failed policy. They should also prepare for an onslaught of angry parents if children are retained because of these scores.

Testing (especially standardized testing) has always been a thorny issue in education, but any educator worth the parchment his or her degree is printed on will tell you that you never teach to the test – that is not teaching. We have sadly moved so far away from the essence of teaching that inspired so many of us to become educators in the first place.

Common Core has many good elements to it, but I am certain it was never meant to be a punitive measure to harm students and teachers, but the way the New York dummy duo of Cuomo and Bloomberg have handled it, we now have substantial reasons to suspect the implementation of the CCSS in the state, the testing program, and the ability of the state education department to set reasonable policies and procedures.

cuomo wikipediaAs for the rest of the country, keep an eye on what’s happening here in New York City and State. Test scores for city schools will be revealed on Wednesday, and most of us expect things to unravel pretty quickly after that. It would make sense – educationally and politically – for the test scores to be declared null and void for this year. This would allow the dust to settle, give everyone time to decide how to better handle things in the upcoming school year, and provide a respite for teachers and students who may have been unfairly affected by the detrimental scores in what is obviously an inequitable process.

Unfortunately, I don’t hold out much hope for this kind of resolution because of the dummies running the show. The problem with dummies is that even manuals for Windows, smart phones, and the like don’t usually help them. Where will Cuomo and Bloomberg be when the dubious scores hit the fan on Wednesday? Will they be banging their Big Gulp cups together and celebrating at Gracie Mansion? Perhaps the dummies will realize the truth and be drowning their sorrows elsewhere, unless they are so dumb they still believe they won something here. That’s the problem with dummies; unfortunately, because of the implications of their policies the suffering is only just beginning for teachers, students, and parents in NY State and City, and the outlook for the upcoming school year and the foreseeable future is grim indeed.

Photo credits: dummies-acnetruth.com; bloomberg-solar1.org; cuomo-wikipedia.org; mulgrew-dailynews.com

No comments: