Barbara Madeloni Thinks Tests Are Failing Our Schools

Aug 26, 2014 by

The newly elected president of the state’s teachers union wants to abolish our reliance on standardized test scores. And she’s not backing down.

In her eighth-floor executive suite on Beacon Hill, newly elected Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) president Barbara Madeloni sits at a coffee table in a corner, as if waiting for her predecessor, Paul Toner, to pop up from beneath his old desk. Toner’s life-size painting of JFK hangs by the door, and on this sunny Friday morning in July the blinds are still drawn from when his tenure ended a week earlier. “I wonder what my view is like,” Madeloni says with a trace of a Long Island accent, in no rush to walk over and find out. “I’m not someone who focuses on the material world. Come back here in three years and it probably won’t look much different.”

Zak Jason – A year ago, Madeloni was an unknown former psychotherapist and high school English teacher with a radical message: At a time when standardized test scores have more and more become the lifeblood of public education—determining students’ futures, teachers’ salaries, and schools’ funding—Madeloni is calling for a three-year moratorium on all testing and teacher evaluations. “We’ve been trying to do scale, instead of human beings. We need to do human beings,” she says. She lambasts the Common Core, a national set of curriculum standards that the state adopted in 2010, as “corporate deform,” and described its architects to CommonWealth magazine as “rich white men who are deciding the course of public education for black and brown children.”

The past and present heads of the state’s top education offices I talked to dismiss Madeloni’s rhetoric as naive, absurd, and, in the case of the moratorium, illegal. Mitchell Chester, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), says he’s concerned that her “hyperbolic” vision may force the DESE to tune out the entire union.

via Barbara Madeloni Thinks Tests Are Failing Our Schools.

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