Monday, March 26, 2012

'Test and Punish' is old testament education in a new testament world

"Texas Education Agency Commissioner Robert Scott said today that the state testing system has become a "perversion of its original intent" and that he was looking forward to "reeling it back in." Addressing 4,000 school officials at the Texas Association of School Administrators' annual midwinter conference, Scott said that he believed testing was "good for some things," but that in Texas it has gone too far. He said that he was frustrated with what he saw as his "complicitness" in the bureaucracy that testing and accountability systems have thrust on schools." Commissioner Robert Scott - Texas Education Agency (The Texas Tribune-1-31-12)
Today marks the beginning of  'Test and Punish Week' in Texas. School children all over the state will be offered up on the altar of so-called "accountability" and subjected to a narrow testing regime that will be used to punish their schools, their teachers and the students.

Exams start today for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  The test results will not be used to determine how to help students.  The results will be used to punish - punish - punish.

Politicians are destroying public education with a mean-spirited regime that turns schools into testing factories instead of educational centers for the development of children in all areas of their lives. Everything is reduced to a high-stakes test that undermines public confidence in public education.

Citizens of Texas have indicated many times in recent history that they are willing to support public education. Politicians use education as a political football - they defund public education and then label it a failure with testing regimes.

I grew up in the segregated South - the daughter of a maid. My mother - a single parent - was a domestic worker like those described in the recent award-winning book and movie - The Help. For the first six years of my life, we lived in public housing. All of my education - K-12, college, and graduate school - was obtained at public and state-supported schools.

No doubt the segregated school I attended as a child would have been labeled a "failure." Yet, I went to college and graduate school from this segregated school that might have been closed under the 'Test and Punish' regime that is destroying public education in America.

Good luck, students and teachers.

You are living in a time of mean-spirited Old Testament 'Test and Punish' education in a New Testament world.

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 Gary Miron, professor of education at Western Michigan University (Valerie Strauss - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post)
"The increasing focus and reliance on standardized tests to evaluate schools and teachers is resulting in cheating. That’s probably inevitable. But it’s also probably minimal. The bigger problem is a more serious type of cheating – one that’s perfectly legal and apparently acceptable. Students are being cheated of a broader education that emphasizes a balance of creativity, extracurricular activities, foreign languages, higher math and science skills and other opportunities due to the over-emphasis on testing for basic math and reading. In this sense, a fixation on testing cheats not only our students but also their communities and the future employers who will depend on their creativity and can-do problem-solving. And our democracy is certainly cheated when our youth are unprepared for healthy civic engagement.
Yes, it is important for reporters and others to seriously pursue stories about schools engaged in wrongful practices. The groundwork done by the Cox reporters is part of that (although I wish they had pursued their investigation further and more carefully before publication). But we as a nation are missing the forest for the trees. No cheating on tests is as serious as the cheating done by the tests."
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McKinney mom prevents children from taking STAAR test