“Learning is about so much more than just filling in the right bubble,” Obama said in a video released on Facebook. “So we’re going to work with states, school districts, teachers, and parents to make sure that we’re not obsessing about testing.”
President Obama says in in the video, “I believe in moderation smart strategic test can measure our kids progress in school”. Code talk for The Smarter Balance Assessment. And now the federal government wants to dictate which district bench mark tests they should use.
You can bet we’ll see cheering at the local level from union reps, PTA and even some state legislators on President Obama’s new position. However, his re-positioning is all about politics and protecting Democrats running for reelection. As far as the Republican side, those ass-whips will say President Obama’s rethinking on testing was their doing. Well for Delaware, with the leader of the Delaware Republican Party as charter school owner we’ll hear no such talk. Chuck has turn into a real political pussy! Then there is flip-flop Lavelle and little Miss Muffet Debbie Hudson. Hudson goes through the motions re: transparency and federal intrusion but when she steps up to the plate she strike out intentionally.
Once again the real winners in this testing tug-of-war is the unions. For sure President Obama’s new position will take standardize testing out of the teachers evaluation process or at best limit it. I am not saying this is a bad thing but testing goes on for students. In defense of real high quality teachers, I feel classroom teacher observations should be taken seriously and more timely student evaluations via a trained education diagnostician should take place within 15 days. Lets trade in some of those administration and consulting positions for more education diagnosticians.
President Obama doesn’t get it! We have years upon years of testing data at all levels that point to the same consensus, high poverty African-American students particularly African-American males rank the lowest in achievement. Now we get into socioeconomic factors. However, at the end of the day, we do need assessment but that assessment need not be standardized across the board as a means to rank teachers and schools. Assessments need to focus on individual students with a set intervention process. Do we want to blame a teacher who is willing to take on the impossible task of teaching a class of high needs students? Hell no! I would love to hear what a committee of 10 “classroom” teachers who taught in high needs schools for 20 years have to say.
Back to the main topic! I honestly believe there will be an attempt to reduce testing in our school. However, The Smarter Balance Assessment is off the table and remains the so-call Holly Grail of test. The president’s move is all about appeasing unions while not offending Wall Street $$$$ interest in public education. Poverty in public education has been a profit center and as billions pour in, we see no real boots on the ground tools being applied. We need more teachers and paraprofessionals to effectively reduce class sizes. The data results has been in for the last 20 years and all concludes the same thing. How may times are we going to put the thermometer in water to prove boiling point of water 212 degree? We know years of testing educational data of all sorts leads to the same conclusion, high poverty children make up the bulk of all students functioning below the standards. Not matter how many time we raise the standards, its the same group of kids failing below the bar.
Personally, I have done a 50 years case study of one Title 1 student. The wealth of real personal data of this person is amazing. When a child fails test after test the sense of self-worth diminishes. They shut-down and just drifts through their school years. Without personalize intervention most at-risk student will drift. Without personalized intervention by the third-grade its too late for many at-risk students. We often hear, middle school is the crack where students fall through. Folks, no crack! This where may student in such need just give up.
To Delaware PTA! Be careful how you drink the kool-aid.