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Testing in NY…for teachers this time…

May 25, 2011

I was forwarded this a link to this NYTimes article by a fellow teacher at my school site (thank you Bonnie).  Just the opening paragraph (below) will tell  you where education is headed if we don’t stay strong as teachers.

New York City education officials are developing more than a dozen new standardized tests, but in a sign of the times, their main purpose will be to grade teachers, not the students who take them.

Reading through this article and its implications you can make a straight line back to Arne Duncan and President Obama’s Race to the Top (RTTP).  Here is the key quote:

Under a law passed last year that helped the state win $700 million in a federal grant competition, known as Race to the Top, each school district must find a way to evaluate teachers on a scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective,” with teachers facing potential firing if they are rated ineffective for two years in a row.

This is just one of the reasons why I have repeatedly pointed out to those who visit this blog that Arne Duncan is no friend of teachers.  Let me ask a question to those reading this: Who do you think will be getting paid to create all of these new tests with which teachers will now be measured by?

A proposal given to testing companies for bids in April asks that the exams be based around tasks, like asking students to progress through a multistep math problem, modify a science experiment to get a different result, or write a persuasive essay.

Wasn’t it during Watergate when Deep-throat said: “Follow the money.”?  Testing companies have cleaned up, making hundreds of millions of dollars since NCLB was enacted.  If more states follow NY down this rabbit hole, they stand to make hundreds of millions more.  I have a prediction that I will put onto this blog for posterity’s sake right now.  When Arne Duncan leaves his position as Education Secretary he will be hired almost immediately by a major testing company either as an advisor or as a lobbyist.  Or, he will be hired by an organization like the Broad Foundation where he can continue his crusade against teachers and unions. 

If the union approves, and testing companies can act quickly, the city wants to introduce the tests in 100 schools next academic year, 500 the following year and almost all of city’s nearly 1,700 schools by 2013-14. It has begun a pilot at 11 struggling schools already receiving federal assistance.

The union should NOT approve this!  Approval is a very slippery slope in matters such as this.  The union should have a backbone and stand tough.  There are many reasons why students can under-perform which have nothing to do with teachers.   See my last post for a list of reasons offered up by Diane Ravitch on why this is so.

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