Last week, the Secretary of Education for the United States of America, Arne Duncan, joined by Governor Dannel P. Malloy, held at a “town hall meeting” at one of Hartford’s magnet schools.
In response to a question from a high school student in attendance, Duncan taught the students an extremely valuable lesson…some politicians lie. In fact, in an attempt to “bond” with the students, Duncan lied through his teeth.
In this case, America’s Patron Saint of Standardized Testing claimed that when he was the CEO of the Chicago School System he cut the amount of standardized testing by 50%. Of course, that statement isn’t close to the truth.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone by the likes of the U.S. Secretary of Education, Governor Malloy weighed in on the issue of the overuse of standardized testing by saying, “We need a multifaceted approach which doesn’t overemphasize [testing],”
A particularly funny, if not ironic statement, considering over Malloy’s term in office we will be seeing a 50 percent to 100 percent increase in the use of standardized testing in Connecticut’s public schools.
Fellow columnist, Sarah Darer Littman, dug into the Duncan/Malloy extravaganza with her usual depth of research, humor and outrage. The product is an absolute “MUST READ” piece that appears on the CTNewsjunkie website.
An Open Letter to Connecticut Students (by Sarah Darer Littman)
Last Friday, during a town hall meeting at the Classical Magnet School in Hartford with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, and assorted other luminaries of the Connecticut political firmament, one of you — Justin Vega — raised a great point with Secretary Duncan.
According to a CT Mirror report, Vega told Duncan that he felt “as if all the time and money spent on standardized testing has compromised the quality of his education.”
The responses given by both Governor Malloy and Secretary Duncan provided us all with a teachable moment in politics, critical thinking, research, statistics, and media literacy.
Malloy warned Vega that Hartford schools could potentially have a 40 percent dropout rate and said: “We have to do everything in our power to make sure that doesn’t happen. We need a multifaceted approach which doesn’t overemphasize [testing],” the CT Mirror reported.
Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned from parenting my own kids is that they learn as much from what I do as from what I say. They don’t hesitate to point out when there is a discrepancy between my words and my actions. I ask them to do it politely. It’s important they respect my authority, but in order to maintain a healthy relationship, it’s equally as important that they question it, particularly if my words and actions don’t ring true. The same is true of democracy.
So ask yourselves — is this the same Governor Malloy who said, “I’ll settle for teaching to the test” if it means raising test scores? Note that he didn’t say he would strive for you to have a meaningful learning experience and develop critical thinking skills. He made it all about your test scores.
Despite Malloy’s assertion that we need a “multifaceted approach which doesn’t over-emphasize” testing, his policies do the opposite.
You can find this absolutely must read piece at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/entry/op-ed_an_open_letter_to_connecticut_students/