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A few days ago, I posted that Cindy Marten, the superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, was cutting back on the time spent testing kids.
This was good news. But some folks are certain that there can never be good news and that I must have been hoodwinked. The usually insightful blogger Emily Talmadge insisted that I was wrong. San Diego was not abandoning high-stakes tests, she wrote, it was buying into “competency based education,” in which children are continually assessed by computers. Emily said that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
I went to my sources in San Diego, and the good news is that San Diego is cutting back on testing and it is not adopting competency based education.
Don’t take it on my word alone.
Take it from the teachers’ union, the San Diego Educators Association.
This is their response to the District’s decision to reduce testing:
“After months of organizing and working to educate San Diego Unified School District parents and leaders on the negative impacts of high-stakes testing, the educators of San Diego Education Association applaud the District for today announcing the significant reduction in the amount of District-mandated standardized tests.”
“San Diego’s educators are thrilled to learn that the District has listened to the concerns of nearly 7,000 educators who have said the current system of high-stakes testing is broken,” said SDEA President Lindsay Burningham.
“Today’s announcement from Superintendent Cindy Marten and SDUSD shows the power that educators and parents have when we stand up together to support the true needs of our students.”
I trust the teachers know what is happening in their own district.
Did Superintendent Marten’s cancel the tests mandated by the state and federal governments? No. She does not have the power to do so. But she canceled district assessments and data collections.
Marten notifies parents every year that they have a right to opt out of state testing. Does your superintendent do that?
The San Diego Union-Tribune wrote recently:
“At the start of the last spring testing window, Marten sent a letter parents that all but apologized for the tests. In February of last year, the San Diego school board adopted a resolution calling on Congress and the Obama administration to eliminate federally mandated testing requirements for third- through ninth-graders.”
Did your school district do that?
Emily, you are a bright and passionate educator. Take a trip to San Diego. Meet Superintendent Marten. Visit the schools. Talk to teachers. But go in the winter, when it is 10 degrees in Maine and 70 degrees in SD.
I promise you won’t be disappointed.