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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
perlin
11:29 AM on 06/15/2011
Mrs.Weingarten,
The scientific research has no value for people like Duncan, Rhee, and GOP governors. The crowd that demands more testing, and is obsessed with hunting “bad” teachers, in reality wants to privatize public schools and create cheap labor to be hired and fired freely without a dual process. Please be aware of the hidden agenda of the latest batch of “educational reforms”.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
tultican
Thomas Ultican, MEd. BS Mecahnical Engineering
11:24 AM on 06/15/2011
Before NCLB was adopted, I was in graduate school and we were discussing the negative influence this law would have on public education. The goal of the law seemed to be to make 100% of the students above average or proficient or something. If schools did not reach that goal they were to be punished. The concept was laughable but the results have been even worse they we imagined. Making evaluations based on multiple choice tests has lead to cognitive dissidence. Effect is mistaken for cause. It is postulated that poor test scores means bad teaching and bad schools. So by not understanding what the instrument is testing great schools have been punished and degraded. High stakes standardized testing is a self-inflicted wound. Just yesterday, NEAP scores showed no significant progress after 10 years of testing. Hello!
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
spoonbill1963
01:52 PM on 06/15/2011
Kids are dumber than ever. Just thank the left.
02:34 PM on 06/15/2011
Actually, its the right. NCLB was Bush's baby. Granted, gleefully gone along with by the Democrats. Anyone, with half a brain, knows that everyone being 100% proficient is an impossible statistic to attain.
03:52 PM on 06/15/2011
It's not the kids! It's you.
02:14 PM on 06/15/2011
Yeah, we don't need a literate citizenry here. That's elitist. Let China and India do it.
03:54 PM on 06/15/2011
Why is China getting rid of constant testing? It doesn't work!!!
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Marcus Hopkins
Conservatives conserve on thought
10:56 AM on 06/15/2011
It isn't that we're testing too much, per se; it's that we're testing in the wrong manner. Tests are, and always have been, an accurate way to test the acquired knowledge of students in a classroom setting. However, the types of tests implemented in the wake of the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act were completely worthless, requiring teachers from unrelated departments to teach English and Math because students had to be "prepared" for their tests.

A more effective way to test students would be to have a yearly comprehensive exit exam, starting from 1st Grade, where students are required to meet specific benchmarks of knowledge set for each year. Any student with less than 75% proficiency would be given the opportunity to work on those skills and retest on those segments where they were weakest during the summer; those students who fail to improve their acquired skills over the summer should be held back another year until they meet those basic standards of education. It's a very simple rubrik that holds both teachers and students responsible for the material mastered during the course of the year, and though it may result in more students graduating later in life, it might result in a more competent and competitive work force.
02:16 PM on 06/15/2011
Agree. You have to wonder why this isn't obvious to everyone. In my cynical moments, I think it must be, and that there are lots of people who just don't want it to happen.

Bottom line: if more energy were put into designing better tests and testing methodologies, rather than hand-wringing and complaining, we'd be able to get on with the business of educating.
03:05 PM on 06/15/2011
designing tests is a LOT more complex than that.

But to the basic point: A test shows how well a student has reacted to a standardized curriculum. Standardized testing shows memorization and test taking skills, and not much else. That's a fairly small part of what education does.
10:16 AM on 06/15/2011
File this under...duh.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
MKWaters esq
09:07 AM on 06/15/2011
Emphatically, yes! We are testing too much - it's why our students aren't learning to think and create; they are learning to fill in the "bubbles."
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10:01 AM on 06/15/2011
This is not the reason, it's a symptom of failure.
12:26 PM on 06/15/2011
Correct SangZe! Students weren't and are not taught how to think but instead what to think. Unfortunately, the kids in general are not acquiring the facts and basic knowledge in order to be able to think critically with that acquired knowledge. Testing is only demonstrating that the kids are not being taught the requisite knowledge in order to be able to think critically after the acquisition.
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FoxIslander
Fox Island...no relation to Fox News
12:27 PM on 06/15/2011
...and evidently not filling in those bubbles that well.
02:18 PM on 06/15/2011
Hey, yeah, interesting problem. If we're spending all of our time teaching kids to fill in bubbles, wouldn't you expect them to do a better job of it? After all, it's a lot easier than teaching them to think critically ...
08:28 AM on 06/15/2011
For the people who deride teachers' unions as thugs, only out for themselves:

This is what rational discussion of the best interests of kids looks like. Compare to Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, and the like.
10:59 AM on 06/15/2011
Absolutely!
01:39 PM on 06/15/2011
Why are K-12 results so bad? Before tests there was no accountability or performance measures.
08:49 AM on 06/16/2011
Where K-12 results ARE bad (which is not everywhere), they are so because of poverty. We've got a third-world level of wealth inequality with a first-world infrastructure. Other developed countries don't hand their schools the sorts of problems we do. When you compare US schools with less than 10% of students living poverty to other developed countries (where that low level of poverty is common nationwide, especially in the highest scoring countries), the US schools are the best in the world.

And really, if you're going to comment, you should do it on something where you're not ignorant. "Before tests"? What, you mean before 605 AD? We've always had tests. Until the last ten years, we used them as they were designed: to evaluate students. There was accountability for teachers then: they were responsible for teaching. Students were responsible for learning, and teachers were responsible for teaching. Now, teachers are responsible for both. That's nonsensical, and unsurprisingly, it's not working.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
see-ellen2001
07:53 AM on 06/15/2011
Teaching to the test creates students who can perform but do not know how to think, how to reason, how to create solutions, how to learn. But, doesn't matter...on paper they look like stars! beware the America of tomorrow....
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
thegreenhornet
civil rights lawyer
06:49 AM on 06/15/2011
This is a metaphor for our lives. We are constantly looking for shortcuts -- gimmicks -- that hasten our ability to reach a goal. We do it in every aspect of our lives. Tests are fine, as a part of the overall picture, not as the single goal to reach. I was a horrible student in high school for reasons too long to enumerate here but likely tied to a case of teenage depression. I graduated with a d- average. I then went to college because my test scores showed I was in the 99th percentile in many disciplines. I got almost all A's and was admitted to law school after three years of undergraduate education. I excelled in law school and was in the top 10 in my class, law review, etc. So yes, tests saved me. But, and its a big one, I was also evaluated by consolers and admissions officers and only admitted to colleges on probation. I had to prove myself in the classroom -- tothe teachers who saw me each day and evaluated my erformance based upon tests and daily classroom participation. Not standardized tests tha the had to teach to, but tests they created to evaluate how well their information was received.
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HUFFPOST BLOGGER
Gary Stager
05:10 AM on 06/15/2011
Wow! This sure is a profile in courage by Ms. Weingarten.

She hides behind new studies to ask the question if schools, teachers and children are over-burdened by expensive, deeply-flawed standardized tests used in ways for which they were never intended.

Way to take a stand for your members and American kids.

You don't want to do anything that will keep you from being invited to the White House or from being the human pinata of the media and corporate "reformers."
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Eric Mann
Do you want to be on the opposite side of Progress
08:32 AM on 06/15/2011
Hides? In what way? She is being diplomatic and not beating people over the head for sure. The problem is that the powers that be don't even want to give people like her a seat at the table. So she simply says "here is what the research says, here are some conclusions I draw from it, please review it and draw your own" - like a good teacher would.
"The mark of an immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is he wants to live humbly for one." -JD Salanger
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
booksnmoreforyou
Progressive educator, activist for good government
05:03 AM on 06/15/2011
Capitalism run amok is the root of all of America's educational problems.
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Ragnar Danneskjold
Defender of Liberty
12:55 PM on 06/15/2011
Really? When we were less regulated we had better education and led the world. THe more we have strangled Capitalism and spent more on education, the more failure we have reaped in the form of unprepared students.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
booksnmoreforyou
Progressive educator, activist for good government
04:04 AM on 06/17/2011
On the contrary, when we were less regulated child labor was commonplace and school attendance was a privilege for the children of those atop the capital heap.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
booksnmoreforyou
Progressive educator, activist for good government
05:00 AM on 06/15/2011
I work at a college with a majority of minorities. The college has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education, defined as K-5. Most of the student are interested in K-3.

My state requires high PPST (PRAXIS I) scores to obtain a teacher's license. The PPST is run by a private company and is intended to test reading, writing, and math.

Nearly 50% of our students fail one portion of the PPST by 1 or 2 points. The state then deems them as unworthy of becoming early childhood educators.

In practical terms, this means that a child's future kindergarten teacher never will become one because she or he cannot get two additional algebra problems correct, or because he or she could not "correctly" pick out one additional problem on the writing or reading test.

As soon as I am shown how algebra and advanced argument evaluation is important for elementary school kids, I'll take different attitude. But as of now, there is zero evidence saying there is any difference between a teacher who got 1 or 2 more problems correct than one who did not.
09:53 AM on 06/15/2011
The PPST is not a challenging test to pass.
12:46 PM on 06/15/2011
Amen! The state teacher tests are a joke- I have been wondering why there is no big expose book out about what an incredible scam they are. They are not challenging, AND passing is meaningless- you could have scored 100% on your first try, or you could have failed repeatedly, taken remedial classes for months, barely passed and you look exactly the same at the end of the day as test taker a. Oh, and for the privilege of taking it, that will be $200 please. If we're going to talk about tests, let's talk about the vested interests who control these asinine teacher tests. (Of course, someone has rigged it so that you are not allowed to see your actual score on the score report, you are simply told that you passed, at least in my state. why? )
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
booksnmoreforyou
Progressive educator, activist for good government
05:01 AM on 06/16/2011
That depends.

I graduated top of my class from a top-tier college and graduate school. I can completely, completely ace the writing and reading portions. In fact, I teach reading and writing and am frankly excellent at it.

But the math portion of the PPST intimidates even me. I never use anything but basic math in real life. The PPST deals with Geometry, which I've never taken, and Algebra, which I would have to relearn.

Please tell me why it is important for society to weed out future kindergarten teachers who cannot do well with algebra and geometry. What exactly is the PPST trying to measure for these students? What is it trying to protect kindergartners from?
09:56 AM on 06/15/2011
I mean, really.

Here's the sample questions: http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/PRAXIS/pdf/5730.pdf
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Ariel Bonzai
Naked is the best disguise.
01:58 AM on 06/15/2011
It's all about the money! We don't even need text booksbor tests or half the suits we pay for we can save a fortune with technology if every kid had an Ipas or moodle, we'd save on texts, have tests that are well designed, evaluation for all is built right into the programs so the teacher's practices, the students progress and parental response are all transparent Effective, effecient and engaging approach to education yet Bill Gates and his clones are ironically clueless
02:25 AM on 06/15/2011
Amen to that. It's about some politician & his cronies making money via the testing industry.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Millie Lencioni
12:23 PM on 06/15/2011
This is exactly what has happened. Someone has figured out a way to make millions off of testing our school children. Get our politicians involved and bingo, there you have it.
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Jenn May
"insert clever quote here"
01:49 AM on 06/15/2011
if only people would listen to their teachers...
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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
Millie Lencioni
12:27 PM on 06/15/2011
Teachers? According to the politicians, they don't know anything. Now they want to pay them according to what their students learn, now that sounds like a plan. Maybe we should only pay politicians on laws that actually work, or tax revenue that benefits someone other than themselves.
HUFFPOST SUPER USER
methodman
01:36 AM on 06/15/2011
Testing is really an extension of emphasis. Formulas are an extension to content. Testing combines several of these and forces frustrating new vocabulary and at the end we complete our thoughts differently. There are two issues. One is the personality vocabulary the other is the science, force perfect collections of pertinence. and details and the third is a build a pocket vocabulary. They are all drastically different but allow the trial and experimentation of well understood sets of alternatives to improve civilization and treat for interesting new artistic and medical structures by chemistry, physics, computer modeling, synthesizer building and designing electronic circuit boards and chip design symbol learning.
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mlaiuppa
Pres. Sarcasm Society. Like we need your approval.
01:31 AM on 06/15/2011
In a word, yes.

The more we test, the less students learn. Correlation?

How about we stop all the testing and put that money into classrooms where it will do more good?