#pearson: $1.7 Billion is not enough.

Please take a moment to read this post on fwd Pearson.

So according to Pearson, $1.7 billion is not enough.  Really?

I encourage readers of @ the chalk face to go to the post and leave a comment.  Below is what I posted.

“State tests tell us some important things about that, including which schools need the most help to improve student learning and which schools can serve as models for those schools to learn from.”

The above sentence demonstrates your delusional thinking and corrupted understanding of what tests “tell us” and your total disregard for “learning.” First, tests do not even begin to scratch the complex surface of “learning.”

Tests are subjective constructions that ask questions about what people in power consider important. Getting answers right on “tests” really demonstrates appeasement to the ruling class. Getting answers wrong is evidence that the test taker has either not been fully indoctrinated into the dominant culture and/or probably lacks the social capital and financial foundation that are absolutely essential to “achieving.”

And please call it”achievement.” It is not learning! Learning defies constricting parameters and allows individuals to develop human potential to transcend the psychometric borders imposed by “achievement tests.”

In other words, test scores will always be predicted by socioeconomic and political status.

But remember, children with low test-scores are “learning” a lot. They are “learning” that the current infatuation with data and the distorted view of public education by those in power are dooming them to a life of subjugation—the school to prison pipeline!

Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/slekar


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  2. Here’s the comment I left (It’s awaiting moderation–let’s see if it actually makes it on there!)

    “Students DO NOT spend “ten hours” on testing. Only someone who has never spent time in a classroom would make this claim. The average school spends two weeks on the state’s standardized tests–because if you know anything about children, it’s that their natural inclination is not to sit perfectly quietly and fill in bubbles for six hours straight. To ensure that students stay focused, schools test for a few hours in the morning– they often have abbreviated days on testing, or they have students go to one other class and watch movies (any teacher will tell you that little actual learning happens, if any, during testing weeks). Add to this other testing days- in New Jersey, there are a whole assortment of tests that kids in different grades get, and in Newark (where my work is centered) there are district-mandated standardized assessments for core subjects. And accountability mania- all centered on standardized tests as the gold standard of measurement- means the time spent on testing is time not spent on learning (perhaps the one thing I agree with you about). So students don’t lose HOURS of learning, they lose WEEKS of learning.

    If the Common Core really do lead to better tests and encouragement of teachers using performance assessments, well, the jury is still out because this is a new endeavor. But nothing that has been done with standardized tests up until now indicates that this is a probable outcome. After more than a decade of increased testing under No Child Left Behind, the only outcome is that we know that our schools full of poor, minority, immigrant/ELL, and special needs kids are failing the standardized tests when compared with affluent, white, and asian (that’s a huge DUH). It also has produced huge cheating scandals in large districts (including your home of Washington, DC) and led to schools’ massive push-out of kids that fit into the historically “low-performing” categories mentioned above to avoid the sanctions attached to being labeled a “failing” school. Many research studies have shown that the increased standardized testing over the last decade plus has resulted in a narrowing of curriculum and reduction/elimination of non-core subjects like the arts and PE, especially in high-poverty schools. Additionally, well-known and established researchers have critiqued tests for being socially, culturally, and linguistically biased…and also for often not being valid measures of higher-order thinking skills like critical thinking, but rather lower-order skills like word recognition.

    Add this to the statistical problems with making high-stakes decisions for schools and teachers based on tests: Any novice researcher taking Quantitative Methods 101 will tell you that you can’t compare achievement for schools from one grade to another and from school to school. Each year brings different populations of students who have different needs and are starting from different levels-students are not robots. Also, students are not randomly assigned to schools; many research studies have shown that the socio-economic factors of the community in which the school is located can account for up to 60% of the students’ performance. On a state-to-state basis, each state has different tests and decide on a “cut” score- the cutoff between failing and not failing- which is totally arbitrary. My friend, an assistant superintendent in a district in northern New Jersey, saw that one of her schools failed by one point. When she called the department of education to find out more about how they decided what the failing point was, not one person could tell her. This is just the tip of the iceberg- it doesn’t even begin to take on the problems with the newest accountability push, which is linking teachers to their students test scores.

    So my point is…yes, 1.7 BILLION is too much to spend on tests. We don’t need more measurement of how students are doing (the students in middle class and affluent schools are doing great, the kids in poor schools are not, except the ones that are in narrowly test-focused schools like KIPP). There is plenty of great research from our top universities that tells us that, along with exactly what will help our students do better (longer clinical placements for teachers, making sure all teachers in a school are properly credentialed and teaching in their proper subject, providing appropriate wrap-around services, having smaller class sizes, providing appropriate/fully funded supports for special ed and ELL, having well-rounded school programs with languages/arts/sports, etc). There is not one piece of research that shows that more testing will lead to higher achievement, nor that threatening schools and teachers with high populations of poor, minority, ELL, and special needs kids that if they don’t magically raise test scores they will be punished/fired. The issue is that what the RESEARCH shows works, doesn’t make money for Pearson or Walmart or Broad or the other mega-corps that DO stand to make, say, 1.7 billion off tests.”

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