There’s something depressingly familiar about the privileged pushback we’re seeing in Massachusetts around the ballot measure to lift the cap on charter schools. An active group of affluent white parents in well-resourced suburban districts are organizing to deny low-income black and brown families access to better schools, all under the progressive guise of “saving our public schools.” If this sounds… Read more →
I know from experience that parents generally don’t tune into news about state test results until they get that personalized report about their own child’s performance on the state exams. And unfortunately, those reports tend to arrive in the backpack or by snail mail many months after the exam–so it can feel a little beside-the-point when your kid has already… Read more →
Opt-Out. Testing. Charters. Common Core. Closings. Accountability. Standards. Teacher Tenure. Teacher Pay. School Spending. If you’re in the education bubble, like we are, you spend the whole year thinking about these issues. But if you’re not, this is the time when a handful of organizations tell the rest of America what parents, teachers and other members of the general public… Read more →
Opt-outers tend to consider themselves “progressives” so they don’t like to see themselves as the privileged few who put their kids’ comfort ahead of the needs of other school children. But it turns out that’s exactly who they are. According to this recently released national survey about opt-out conducted by the Teachers College at Columbia University: The typical opt out activist is a… Read more →
Michael Goot in the upstate New York Post Star reports on a website called the Wall of Shame that currently highlights 15 school principals and superintendents, most from Long Island, who have expressed support for standards and assessments. In response, the coalition called High Achievement New York sent a letter to several New York State legislators asking them to “ help us… Read more →
Real Clear Education, 5-5-2016
The much-maligned student testing could actually reveal social disparities and potentially unite diverse communities, according to a new report.
Major gaps exist in how low-income versus middle- and high-income communities view student testing, according to a report released today by Northwest Evaluation Association and Gallup. NWEA and Gallup’s data show that low-income parents think state tests improve learning despite the opt-out movement, and the movement itself isn’t necessarily moving the needle at the school and district level.
One-third of parents with a household income under $60,000 indicated that they believe state standardized tests improve learning, compared with a mere 16 percent of parents with a household income between $60,000 and $89,999.
Poughkeepsie Journal, Commentary, 4-25-16
No matter how great of an education you think your child is getting, he or she is almost certainly trailing behind kids living in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, Finland, Poland, Canada, Germany, Australia and 18 other countries where, according to Pew Research Center, young people did “significantly” better on the PISA math test than those in the U.S.
That is why most of the heated arguments over opting in or out of standardized tests are missing the point. All of our schools, including yours, need to achieve much higher standards. And — since American students have been required to take standardized tests for more more than a decade — we also know which schools will need to stretch the farthest to get there. But it is simply a matter of degrees. Every parent needs to understand that an “A’’ in their neighborhood could translate into a “C’’ in Japan.
In a recent piece in The 74 Bill Bennett suggests that the opt-out movement in New York is driven solely by teacher union leaders and allies who have spent millions of dollars on robocalls, emails, forums, and other tactics. Their motivation to increase test refusals this year is engineered to undermine “tough, high-quality standardized exams” that “will hold their members accountable… Read more →
I don’t consider myself a “tiger mom” and, while I haven’t taken a poll, my kids would probably agree that I’m a soft touch. Yet a column this week in the Wall Street Journal called “Here’s Why Tests Matter” brought me up short as it described a “predictable outcry” by parents against the new SAT — “why do we have to… Read more →
The next round of standardized tests for third- through eighth-graders begins April 4. The high-pressure lobbying to opt out has already started. The pressure is mostly coming from the well-organized and -funded opt-out movement, and the tactics are exposing the lie that this is a parent-led push. It’s teachers unions and members fighting with all their might to destabilize standardized testing in New York in pursuit of their own goals.