Are You Kidding? Vallas’ standardized testing obsession means 3 rounds of tests plus CMTs.

21 Comments

Forget about the concept that our schools need to devote more time to learning;

Paul Vallas, “education reformer extraordinaire,” and Bridgeport’s, $229,000, part-time, interim superintendent of schools, has announced an unprecedented standardized testing assault on Bridgeport’s students and their teachers.

In an announcement yesterday, Team Vallas informed administrators that in addition to the two weeks of Connecticut Mastery testing that is required by the Connecticut State Department of Education, Vallas is ordering that all students in grades 3-11 complete three additional rounds of standardized testing.

While “Education Reformers” are fond of claiming that they support extending the school year and the school day, Vallas’ absurd action will significantly reduce the number of hours students have to actually learn.

Instead, even more teaching to the test will take place.

According to Vallas’ directive, Bridgeport’s standardized testing program will include a round of Fall Testing that will take place from October 1st through October 10th, Winter Testing, which will run from January 7th through January 16th and Spring Testing which will go from May 28th through June 6th     This is in addition to the Connecticut Mastery Tests which run for two weeks in March.

It is not clear how much the massive standardized testing effort will cost, but if history is any guide, we can assume that the company providing and grading these standardized tests got their contract through a no-bid process.

Ironically, Vallas provided Bridgeport’s outgoing illegal Board of Education with a budget update earlier this week, but he somehow forgot or failed to mention this massive new “initiative” that will undoubtedly cost “big bucks.”

However, what is clear is that when it comes to standardized testing, Team Vallas is not only on the wrong path but headed in the wrong direction.   There is growing recognition that standardized testing is not a good measure of student abilities and can actually be detrimental to the learning process.

In Texas, the birthplace of George W. Bush’, No Child Left Behind Act, which introduced massive standardized testing, school districts, parents and even the business community are demanding less testing and more learning.  To date, 593 Texas school districts, representing   70% of all Texas’ students, have endorsed a resolution demanding that state officials, “reexamine public school accountability systems” and “develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing” and “more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning.”  The Texas PTA, various chambers of commerce, and principals’ associations have also signed onto the Texas anti-testing movement.

But the testing craze is alive and well here in Connecticut.

With Bridgeport’s school system in desperate need of additional resources and a real commitment to putting the city’s education program on the right path, Vallas stays the course with his dedication to hiring more out-of-state- consultants, purchasing new products through no-bid contracts, and now derailing the effort to revitalize the quality of education by turning the schools into nothing more than “testing factories.”

When you hear that Connecticut’s taxpayers are giving Bridgeport more than $168,000,000, a year, to cover the vast majority of the City’s education costs, you can now thank Team Vallas for flushing even more of that money down the drain.

***Proving that there are school administrators who “get it,” Diane Ravitch has a blog today about John Kuhn.  Kuhn is the superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt Independent School District in Texas and Ravitch calls him a ” hero superintendent” and someone who has ” been a voice of reason and at the same time an exemplar of passion and courage since he burst onto the national stage a year ago at the national Save Our Schools rally in Washington, D.C.”   For Diane’s full blog go to http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/31/our-first-hero-superintendent/

 

  • buygoldandprosper

    Testing,testing…123…
    Read LosAngeles Magazine article about John Deasy. It soooo sounds like what is going on in this state in many ways. My favorite was Robert Felner who ended up going to prison for fraud doing what Team Vallas is doing.And Santa Monica only paid $375K to a “research center” headed by Felner,but his criminal activity was not directly related to LA!
    I can’t link the article but perhaps you can find it under THE TAKEOVER ARTIST.
    Being a charlatan and con-man seems to be in a job requirement these days in the knowledge industry.
    Nice work reforming education in Connecticut Dan Malloy!

  • Not Born Yesterday

    MORE TESTING? Must be that Vallas hadn’t met his quota in divvying up public tax dollars to his test company cronies. Or maybe its connected to the deals he’s struck in other big city school systems where his scam to “turn around” schools is spreading like a welcomed cancer. Just what is the price tag of the additional assessments and their scoring?
    Vallas seems intent on doing his utmost to usher in “death at an early age” for any child who might ever have had a glimmer of desire to learn while also enjoying school and being young. School years used to be thought of as the best years of one’s life. This kind of insane testing just intensifies the 13 year grim mandatory sentence these young Bridgeport prisoners must undego. And its not the teachers fault. The buck starts and stops with the superintent, the board of education (whether this state appointed one or the elected one we’re about to get), and the new state commissioner, who like Vallas is no educator at all. Why don’t the two of them (along with Adamowski) just go away and run their widget factories? That’s what their perverse perspectives on education reform qualifies them for.

  • Pingback: A Sure Cure for Low Test Scores: More Testing « Diane Ravitch's blog

  • Luv2Teach

    Meanwhile, the start of this school year has been atrocious! Disorganized and asinine! SOme books aren’t bar coded so we can’t hand them out yet. Printers out of classrooms, and still many unable to print anywhere because it’s not “set up” yet. In my many, many years as a teacher in Bpt. – through Connelly, Salcedo & Ramos and I have never seen a beginning of the year so disorganized, with no support or even people who can answer simple questions for us.. and now we hear about all this new tests! Unbelievable! You’re right, Jon.. The big question is WHEN will we have time to TEACH????

    • Linda174

      Why doesn’t Lambeck and the CT Post report this?

      • Castles Burning

        Lambeck was thanked at the “last” BOE meeting for her “balanced” reporting from the Board, although the chair prefaced his remarks as hoping that they would not get Linda “in trouble.” That is, that she “earned” praise and recongnition to her contributions to the “success” of all of the achievements that they keep touting but are not happening. Luv2Teach’s description is quite accurate.

      • Sleepless in Bridgeport

        The CT Post….what a joke. They are in the pocket of the schools if not on the payroll. Their only job is to keep stuff going on in the schools quiet and that may be the thing that Bridgeport Public Schools have done best. If the Bridgeport parents who really care about their children’s education had half a clue of what really goes on they would yank their kids immediately.
        Isn’t it obvious…..Vallas’ job is to deliver the higher achievers in Bridgeport to his charter benefactors while leaving the NCLB to the shell that will remain of the BPS. Maybe that is even the secret business plan of Achievement First?
        1. Elect a governor who is an idiot
        2. Plant a mole as Comm. of Education
        3. Rip apart the city schools with mercinary leadership
        4. Deliver the better students to the Charters
        5. Pad your pockets with lots of money
        6. Move to South America to escape prosectuion
        I am afraid in Bridgeport they have passed the point of no return……..damage done!

        • Castles Burning

          I so hope that you are wrong (excellent analysis by the way) and that we can SOMEHOW mediate the damage (but it does keep coming).

      • Luv2Teach

        If she was a real reporter, she would visit the schools and just ask random teachers “How’s it going?” to get some truth, instead of only attending BOE meetings and reporting their “all is peachy” agenda. It’s not that difficult to investigate & report REALITY with a little effort…

  • Magister

    What was the name again of that test material company in Chicago, with which Vallas used to have ties?

  • Lorenzo

    Does that include the AIMSWeb school wide fluency testing, which is done to document progress on the SRBI tier? That is also done 3 times a year.

    Those poor kids – do they ever get some down time?

    • jonpelto

      A neighbor was telling me their 4th grader begged to stay home because he was scared people would be angry if he didn’t get a high enough score!
      These bastards should be arrested for child abuse…and now they want to start the “assessment” at kindergarten.
      I want to see their test scores and their childrens test scores!

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

      • Magister

        I intend to opt my kid out , once I figure out the CT procedures.

        • R.L.

          When you di figure them out, please share….and share…..and share…..and share…..

      • Lorenzo
      • Luv2Teach

        I had a few students answer in a survey that what they worried about the most this year were the CMT’s!! SO sad!

  • Lorenzo

    Let’s not forget the DRA – Direct Reading Assessment – which is an individually administered test given to every K-3rd grade student in the Fall, Winter and Spring.

    • Luv2Teach

      and the LAS testing given to ESL students!

  • Charlie Puffers

    It’s the same in Hartford. Three rounds of testing. The NWEA, plus writing prompts plus DRA, plus LAS, plus PSAT and SAT during the school day in every school grades K-11.

  • beg2differ

    I personally don’t understand how Bridgeport allowed these thieves in. Then again, to look at the bigger picture is enough for anyone to.go insane. Somebody please stop these people before they destroy our precious children!