And the answer is: MORE Standardized Testing – Hooray!!

31 Comments

Okay, it’s bad enough the Governor Malloy’s “Education Reform” bill adds another whole standardized test in 11th grade but…

Not to be outdone, Paul Vallas and the corporate reformers who are “turning around” the Bridgeport School System sent out a memo yesterday informing all Bridgeport administrators and teachers that —- Another round of CMTs is just the thing to finish up the school year!

Sandra Kase, Vallas’ Chief Administrative Officer (and the person rumored to be in line to take over when Vallas blows out-of-town) issued the memo that reads;

“…there will be end-of-year testing in English Language Arts and mathematics that will mirror the CMT and CAPT examinations.  These tests will be administered to all students in Grades 3-11 during the week of June 4th,   including Grades 9 and 11 who do not take state assessments.”

And the rationale for this absurdity?

The new regime’s interpretation of how the world works is:

“Traditionally, instruction wanes after the administration of the state tests.  Unfortunately, this “lull” in teaching and learning deprives our students of much-needed academic support.”

In other words – let’s face facts – the only time teachers are capable of teaching (and children are capable of learning) is when they have a gun to their heads – and that gun is called the standardized tests.

Not only are standardized tests the vehicle to make teachers do their jobs (while making kids learn), it is standardized tests that Governor Malloy and his fellow “reformers” say MUST be used in the evaluation process so that government can determine whether teachers are or are not doing their job.

The memo highlights the directive by stating – in bold –  “ALL ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOLS ARE REQUIRED TO REFOCUS THE INSTRUCTIONAL DAY TO INCLUDE 90 MINUTES OF LITERACY/ELAINSTRUCTION AND 90 MINUTES OF MATHEMATICS INSTRUCTION EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.

Hooray for Education Reform!

Oh, and for those who want to know who is driving the Bridgeport bus these days, the Chief Administrative Officer was kind enough to list the cc’s so we can see who is really in charge.  And they are; Paul Vallas, Superintendent, Theresa Carroll Deputy Chief Academic Officer, Lissette Colon, Chief of Staff, Marlene Siegel, Chief Financial Officer, Deborah Santacapita, Director, Data Management, Assessment & Accountabiity (which she spelled wrong – proving we all put our pants on one leg at a time), Dan Cochran , Executive Director, Human Resources, Don Kennedy, Chief Operations Officer and Shively Willingham, Special Assistant

With that many Chiefs and Directors the future of Bridgeport’s education system has got to be bright.

  • Buygoldandprosper

    Paul Vallas-current- $229,000
    Theresa Carroll-2009- $137,664
    Lissette Colon-2009-$80,144
    Deb Santacapita-2009- $121,300
    Four other cc’s are not readily available but suffice to say that could be a million dollar email based on what we know. And it is all about the kids.
    Test THAT!

    • jonpelto

      From now on we are calling it the million dollar email – and that doesn’t even count the cost of the test and scoring – and here they said they had a deficit…..

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • Deep_throat_BPS

       Someone should check the numbers above. It’s likely their higher than prior to the re-shuffling.

  • Jon Kantrowitz

    My questions:

    1. Where do these test come from. Who wrote them? Who determined how appropriate they are?

    2. Who is going to grade them?

    3. How much does all this cost?

    4. Where is the money coming from?

    5. How do you restructure middle school and high school to add more
    math and ELA instruction in the middle of the year with no planning?

    THIS IS CRAZY!
     

    • jonpelto

      Maybe one of the “reformers’ would be kind enough to answer these questions…. Heck just answer half of them and I’ll feel better informed!

    • guest

      1.  They come from corporate computers and from software “inventors”.
      2.  They are graded by corporate computers.
      3.  They cost quite a bit, but we won’t be paying for expensive tenured teachers (contract it out to TFA), nor for decent custodial services (contract it out), nor for buses (contract it out, make kids cross the highway or skid row)… Consolidate central office so that a few people make $200,000 + and the rest are drones.
      4.  See #3 above.  Oh, and don’t forget the altruistic rich “drive-by donors,” and the fact that Boards of Ed will exist to do fundraising.
      5.  How to restructure school?  How about along the lines of prison?

  • Magister

    I love how we are told to – simultaneously – differentiate/individualize instruction, but also prep for standardized tests. I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.

    Imagine if all the students excelled at the test – without Rheevisions and erasures? The immediate response would be that the test is insufficiently rigorous. Rigorous standards mean that not everyone will meet them. It’s a Catch-22, and no less absurd than Heller’s book.

    • jonpelto

      You get the early nod for best post of the day!

    • guest

      Rheevisions–I love it!
      Goes with Rheeform and Pryoritization….

    • guest

      Now I know what a Pryority School District is!

  • CONconn

    This proves this man doesn’t have a clue about teaching and learning. Most teachers believe that the end of standardized testing each year means they have an opportunity to finally start teaching meaningful concepts.

    • jonpelto

      Right. So the solution is to teach to the test every day all day. Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

      • ConcernedTeacher

        That is what Malloy wants. He said so himself. But what about subjects without standardized tests? 

        • anniemil

          I recently read somewhere that teachers who do not teach a subject/grade that is assessed by standardized testing (ex. art, music, gym, Pre-K- grade 2) can select a grade/subject and use those scores! That sounds like an effective measure of an educator’s competence, no? One has NOTHING to do with the other. I’m thinking those in charge really don’t care as long as they have #s for their statistics/evaluations. It may have been NYC where they use the value added scores.

          • ConcernedTeacher

            Are you serious????
            The scores from a math class could be used to determine a music teacher’s effectiveness?

            The scariest thing is that none of these questions have been answered by the Malloy Administration. And he wants to implement his plan ASAP.

          • Magister

            Sweet! (Magister runs off to talk to the AP English teacher).

  • CT_Dad

    The latest grassroots
    organizations that have thrown their support behind the governor’s school
    reform plan:
    *Student Teachers
    for Education Reform
    *Teacher’s Aides
    for Education Reform
    *Student Teachers
    Aides for Education Reform
    *School Bus
    Drivers for Education Reform
    *Lunch Ladies for
    Education Reform
    *School Lunches
    for Education Reform
    *Sloppy Joes for Education
    Reform
    *Unwashed Gym
    Socks for Education Reform
    *Unborn Children for
    Education Reform
    *Puppies & Kittens
    for Education Reform
    *Lobbyists for Education
    Reform
    *Consultants for Education
    Reform
    *Lunch Lady
    Lobbyists for Education Reform
    *Your Grandmother
    for Education Reform

    • Linda174

      They’ll need a lot more buses and sandwiches for that crew, but they definitely have the money.

    • guest

      Just add –ER to anything!  Stands for Education Reform!
      Thank you CT_Dad!
      It used to be that elections were rigged by adding the dead back onto the voters rolls… now we just add some bogus Ed Reform groups, lured by cheap eats and free transportation…

    • ConcernedTeacher

      This was a little more obvious for me to get CT_Dad. Very funny.

  • George Peterman

    This is so f-ing disheartening.  Everyone knows it’s about the money.  Teachers look forward to the passing of the tests so we can do something interesting and meaningful, like group research projects in which kids present projects that show synthesis of knowledge and concepts, incorporating current technology.  What ever happened to Howard Gardner and multiple intelligences?  He defined intelligence as the ability to CREATE a culturally relevant product, but education is driving in the opposite direction.  Test-taking is not a life skill; I don’t think people in the private sector take standardized tests to earn their checks.  Or am I that out of touch?

    • jonpelto

      If workers are trained to take standardized tests they aren’t trained to figure out to ask why the CEO makes 30 times what everyone else makes. Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • JMC

    And as I read these comments, I see that another ConnAd graphic is running on ctcapitolreport.com, directing us to contact our CT Senators about the “achievement gap” in CT education.

    ConnAd? Yup, another pop-up 501(c)(4) astroturfed offshoot of ConnCan, sharing an address with it at 85 Willow St., New Haven and listing
    Patrick Riccard as its director. And stating on its website that it will NOT disclose the names of the people who fund it.   

    • jonpelto

      But using a high ranking retired state employee to round up support and signatures. !!!!! Where did you find the organizational papers – I couldn’t find them….
      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • ConcernedTeacher

    Here’s another interesting topic. Many academic subjects are covered on standardized testing including CMT and CAPT mainly. BUT, what about the subjects that ARE NOT covered? How is “teacher effectiveness”  going to be judged in Malloy’s “reformed” system for PE teachers? Music? Art? Tech. Ed.? Dance? and others?

    What in Malloy’s bill addresses THAT? Are those teachers to be judged solely on the classroom grades of their students and then have their PAY based on said grades? Is Malloy going to make up standardized tests for them to teach to? …..Every kid gets an “A” regardless!……

    MERIT grades for MERIT pay: kid showed up! That’s an “A”. He/she did a little work in class: “A+”!!

    • Magister

      I teach a subject that is not directly linked to standardized tests (a foreign language). My fear is that my subject and others like it will be eventually trimmed from the curriculum so that we don’t drain time away from the oh so valuable test prepping. It is already happening in some places.

      • jonpelto

        I think that is a very valid fear. If you go to two rounds a year of math, science, english, – you teach one “foreign” language for three years out of the 12 and call it a day. They will argue that it worked to deny the existence of the metric system so why not the notion that english only is the way to go? :( disgusting
        Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

      • ConcernedTeacher

        I too teach an elective course and I fear the same. I fear loosing my job because of not being a traditional academic course and there is no room for that in a for-profit school AND I fear not being effectively evaluated because of the unique nature of my course.

        This is a very difficult time for us electives as we may not have any standardized test to evaluate us. Some of us have an AP test, but not all. I do know of one test linked to grants awarded (NOCTI), but I have not seen many students score very well (above 70%) because of the nature of the test.

  • am

    So crazy.  I do hope there is some sort of karma in line for these deceivers.

    • jonpelto

      Three cheers for karma!

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Pingback: Who is Paul Vallas and why is he coming to Madison? | AMPS