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The Journal News of the Lower Hudson Valley wrote anthe genesis of the testing madness that has gripped the nation for at least 15 years.
First came No Child Left Behind, then Race to the Top, destroying education by a mammoth obsession with test scores.
Andrew Cuomo used federal policy to lash out at teachers’ unions. Of Congress passes s new law, reducing federal punishments, what will the states do with their new flexibility?
The editorial sees some positive sights:
“Newly arrived state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has said she will appoint task forces to review the Common Core standards, New York’s 3-to-8 tests that are now tied to Common Core, and how test results are used to evaluate teachers. Elia has a track record of supporting the standards-testing-evaluations approach to improving education, but seems keenly aware that many New Yorkers have little faith in our testing obsession. She’ll soon realize that a whole new group of parents are now irritated because of the recent Regents exam in algebra, which left even top students scratching their heads.”
Giving the boot to Pearson sent a good signal.
But now there is “the Cuomo problem.”
“Then there’s the Cuomo problem. Our governor is the driving force behind New York’s brutish teacher-evaluation system, which will increasingly rely on test scores to label teachers (even though we won’t use the same scores to evaluate students because the tests are unproven). Many classroom teachers and the parents who appreciate them will remain peeved until the system is changed. Elia will have to confront this problem pronto and figure out a way to circumvent Cuomo’s stubbornness, driven largely by his animus for teachers unions.
We hope that Congress will let states decide how to use test data for their own purposes. But it would be up to New York’s leaders to recognize what even those in Washington see: testing should not drive education policy. Many teachers will spend too much time next year trying to protect their jobs by preparing students for tests. This must not continue.”