Diane Ravitch hits the bull’s eye, yet again, with her blog post today entitled, The Damage Done by Data-Driven Evaluation.
The subject; how professional conversations in our schools have changed.
As she notes, “They no longer discuss instructional improvements in their staff meetings; they no longer review opportunities for professional development related to classroom practice. They talk data. They hear from data experts. They strategize about how to get the numbers up. They drill down into the data. They focus on the kids who are a 2 on the state tests and ignore the 1s and the 3s and 4s. Data drive their conversation, their practice, their life. Data determine whether they will have a job next year. Data determine whether their school will live or die.”
Here in Connecticut, policymakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties, have been pushing the data-agenda forward.
When Connecticut’s Governor, Dannel Malloy, introduced his “education reform” package last February it included a proposal for a new standardized test for all 11th graders in Connecticut.
Halfway through the legislative session, Malloy uttered his now famous line; I don’t mind teaching to the test, as long as the test scores go up.
When the Connecticut General Assembly finished up with Malloy’s “reform” package, the concept of a new 11th grade test was replaced with standardized tests for kindergartners, first graders and second graders.
Building on the absurdity and stupidity of the “No Child Left Unbothered” Act and the “Race to the Top” programs, Connecticut has gone that extra mile, adding new standardized testing in the grades the federal government managed to skip over.
In the name of improving educational achievement, Connecticut’s students will now spend valuable “hands on instructional time” practicing and taking standardized tests in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade and tenth grade. Even before Malloy comes back with a new eleventh grade test, if you add in the PSATs and SATs, Connecticut’s policymakers are coming close to being able to say that in Connecticut, at least, no child, in any school, in any grade, will escape the “benefit” of filing in bubbles.
When the political candidates come seeking your vote this year, ask them… “Seriously, is their goal to waste hundreds of millions in scarce public resources while making the private testing companies rich… or are they just out to destroy any opportunity for our children to have a well-rounded education.
Then vote accordingly.