Education Reformers and their obsession with Standardized Testing – Even the NY Times can’t get the story right!

Fellow education blogger Diane Ravitch, the nation’s premier public education advocate, opened the New York Times this morning and noted that even the New York Times has been “snowed” by the Corporate Education Reform Industry and their false narrative that the solution to the challenges facing public education in the United States is to have more standardized testing.

Diane Ravitch writes;

News flash! There is a national test that enables us to compare reading and math scores for every state! It is called NAEP. It reports scores by race, ELLs, poverty, gender, disability status, achievement gaps. This is apparently unknown to the Néw York Times and the Secretary of Education, who has said repeatedly that we need Common Core tests to compare states.

The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, has a story today about Massachusetts’ decision to abandon PARCC, even though its State Commissioner Mitchell Chrster is chairman of the board of PARCC. True or Memorex? Time will tell.

But the story has a serious problem: the opening sentence.

“It has been one of the most stubborn problems in education: With 50 states, 50 standards and 50 tests, how could anyone really know what American students were learning, or how well?”

Later the story has this sentence:

“The state’s rejection of that test sounded the bell on common assessments, signaling that the future will now look much like the past — with more tests, but almost no ability to compare the difference between one state and another.”

What happened to the National Assessment of Educational Progress? It has been comparing all the states and D.C., as well as many cities, since 1992. Has no one at the New York Times ever heard of NAEP?

It is more than an embarrassment that the “mass media” takes corporate education reform industry propaganda for truth.  In fact, it is a dangerous confirmation that without the truth citizens cannot keep their government and leaders in check.

Of course, here in Connecticut we have a governor who not only dramatically increased the amount of standardized testing, claiming it was necessary in order to determine whether schools are making children “college and career ready” but explained,

“I’ll settle for teaching to the test if it means raising test scores” – Governor Dannel Malloy

[See Wait, What? Post, “I’ll settle for teaching to the test, if it means raising scores” Dan Malloy 4/9/12.]

So to the New York Times and all the other media entities that have become puppets for the “Education Reformers” remember this…

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right. . . and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, and indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” John Adams (1735–1826)

  • J5

    The standardized testing regime has not standardized anything so far. The first two states to adopt common core were New York and Tennessee, but both states set their cut scores (proficiency thresholds) using completely different criteria. New York has also manipulated outcomes by withdrawing test items long after the tests were taken and scored. The roll outs have been uneven, and botched in many cases. But varying levels of test refusals also skew the ability to compare schools, districts, states or anything else in a landscape of controversy and political manipulation.

    No one also knows how the growth formulas work, including litigants in state supreme court cases. There is no transparency as to how students with disabilities are compared to regular Ed students, etc.

    We have successfully measured one thing and that is compliance, otherwise the only thing common core states have in common is the labeling majority of their students as failures.

    The very idea of taking raw student test scores, and applying a bell curve to them to meet quotas for proficiency/failure Is subjective and completely unscientific but even more ridiculous is the lesser-known fact that most teacher evaluations have test scores in math or reading applied to them even though they teach other subjects. So the whole thing is a farce and most politicians don’t even know how bad it is.