3/12/2015 Ending The Testing War

THIS WEEK: Over-Testing In Kindergarten … White Privilege And Resegregation … Blogger Derails NCLB … Charter Schools Aren’t Reform … Teach For America Teachers Don’t Stay


How We End The War Over Standardized Testing

By Jeff Bryant

“Anyone who grew up in the 1960s remembers our nation’s response to the threat of nuclear war … Today, we’re sliding into a Cold War of a different sort, where earnest proponents of ‘school accountability’ square off against ardent activists who demand freedom from ‘government regulation’ … At a time such as this, when anger is setting in and ideological positions are hardening, it’s good to remember what really did help protect us from the threat of nuclear extinction … it was a dialogue … A policy that encourages trust and collaboration but enforces verification that includes a two-pronged assessment system of student and systemic outcomes could resolve the testing war.”
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Welcome To Kindergarten. Take This Test. And This One.


“As test anxiety spread through the upper grades, the more rigorous academic demands trickled down, and kindergarten teachers inherited a new normal. Many states, districts, and schools are starting to evaluate even kindergarten instructors’ performance based partly on their students’ test scores, necessitating more testing in that grad … By June, some Florida teachers will have spent as many as 80 out of 180 school days administering standardized test … Overtesting doesn’t just add up to lost class hours: It has changed the way kindergarten teachers teach … It has become harder to teach core literacy and mathematical concepts through play, since administrators expect to see more formal academic lessons, partly intended to prepare students for tests.”
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The 1 Percent’s White Privilege Con: Elites Hold ‘Conversations’ About Race, While Resegregating Our Schools


Political science professor Cory Robin writes, “In school, white children are taught to be conscious of race and racism in a way I never was when I was as a kid in the 1970s. Yet they go to schools that are in some respects more segregated now than they were in the 1970s … Instead of confronting social inequality with mass political action and state redistribution, we prefer to educate poor children to wealth … But one need only compare the facilities at the Park Slope school my daughter attends with those of an elementary school in East New York … to see we’re a long way from even that minimal redistribution … The reason our schools are unequal is that our society is unequal.”
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How A Conservative Blogger Helped Derail The House NCLB Rewrite

Education Week

“Efforts to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act hit the skids in the House … So how did that happen? After all, the bill had the support of GOP leadership … This blog post, written by Christel Swasey, a former high school English teacher from Utah, which quickly went viral … called the bill a ‘betrayal’ … Swasey said she’s worried that the bill would force states to stick with the Common Core State Standards, and trample on the rights of private schools, especially religious schools, and homeschoolers. And since the bill keeps the NCLB law’s testing schedule in place, she sees it as passing federal mandates onto states, not getting rid of them entirely … Both the Heritage Action Fund and the Club for Growth came out swinging against the bill, which was likely even more damaging. Still, the blog post seems to have helped fuel the fire.”
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Charter Schools Do Not Equal Education Reform

The Baltimore Sun

Former Philadelphia school superintendent David Hornbeck writes, “I recommended the approval of more than 30 charter schools because I thought it would improve educational opportunity for our 215,000 students. The last 20 years make it clear I was wrong … Charters, on the whole, do not result in significant improvement in student performance … Charter funding is also negatively affecting regular public schools … Charters do not serve students with the greatest challenges … Charters are not substitutes for broader proven reforms … Let’s do what we know works.”
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Most Teach For America Instructors Plan to Flee Teaching


“More than 87% of TFA teachers say they don’t plan on remaining teachers throughout their careers, compared with 26.3% of non-TFA teachers working in the same subjects, grades, and schools … The risk of turnover is relatively high for the recent grads that become teachers through TFA’s program. A full 25% of them said they would quit teaching after the current school year, compared with only 6.7% of non-TFA teachers. And of those who plan to quit, 42.9% of TFA teachers anticipated leaving education altogether, compared with 6.7% of non-TFA teachers … What makes TFA’s attrition particularly damning is that the organization puts teachers in exactly the types of low-income, under-resourced schools that could benefit from consistent leadership.”
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