Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DR and Tisch on Hayes Last Night

I'll say it. I wasn't a big fan of how Ravitch dealt with Tisch last night on MSNBC. The (3 minute) debate made me wonder what an active public school parent or even a teacher would have said if (s)he had had a few minutes next to one of the people responsible for the testing catastrophe that has occurred.

Tisch towed the line and said everything you would expect someone like her to say. 'The tests are aren't harmful.' 'They're only snapshot.' 'We need to know how kids are doing.' 'The public needs to know how kids are doing.' This was her line last night as it has been for the past two weeks.  Of course, much of the premise of her statements were simply untrue. 

Because of the lack oh honesty from Tisch, my hope was that Ravitch would directly stick it to her with sentiments something like "We already have a snapshot. It's called a report card". "They are are more than a diagnostic. They are high stakes tests". "The tests are being used to get teachers". "Parents have been dragged into a dispute between teachers and the state governments". "The tests undermine the value of what parents do and of what teachers do". "Parents have opted out because they have no other recourse". "Trust schools". 

These were some of sentiments I was hoping to see. The plight of teachers and parents have been woven together by these tests and it doesn't take a mastermind to realize who the victims here are (students, parents and teachers in that order). It would have been nice to see some of that articulated last night.  

True, she didn't get a whole lot of time. Tisch got the first and last word and DR did, of course, get in that AWESOME shot about children spending more time testing than lawyers do taking the bar examand. Also, honestly, I don't think  3 minutes at the end of a show is enough to accomplish anything.  Lastly, this isn't criticism, not by a long shot, But the truth of the matter is that Hayes hit Tisch, the person who's bringing all this pain to us, harder than Ravitch did and although I'm not one who looks for red meat, I was hoping to see a bit more. So there. I said it. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Reminder: Tests Will Count More Than Supervisor Observations

On the eve of what what will almost surely be the largest amount of students to opt out of state tests ever (check this out or this or this) and in the midst of some familiar faces weighing in to not opt out (see here or here or here), it may be worth remembering that these tests, and those like them, will be worth more than the observations our own supervisors will perform next year.

Those tests will be worth 50% of teachers' score next year. 

The observations from our supervisors are now diluted with observations from "independent" evaluators and will be worth less than that. 

So there is quite a bit at stake with these boycotts against high-stakes test.