Legislator, educator challenging ‘testing juggernaut’

Oct 25, 2013 by

test-prep-2A New York state legislator and educator wrote this piece to express their concerns about the effects of high-stakes testing on schools and to urge a rethinking of the school accountability system. This was written by Arnold Dodge, associate professor and chair of the  Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at Long Island University-Post, and Charles Lavine, a member of the New York State Assembly.

 

By Arnold Dodge and Charles Lavine

The New York State Senate education committee has been traveling the state to conduct hearings entitled: “The Regents Reform Agenda: ‘Assessing’ Our Progress.”   In light of this important and timely inquiry we feel compelled to share our concerns about the state of so-called educational reform in New York.

New York State parents recently receiving test score results from last year’s standardized testing administration.  These new tests were based on the Common Core State Standards and education officials warned they would be harder than the tests students had become accustomed to taking. Predictably, the test score results were abysmal, and policy makers throughout the state are on the defensive, putting the best face on what many consider a debacle.  Our alliance as an educator and a legislator developed during a lengthy and frank conversation about this most recent round of testing and the standardized testing juggernaut that has sucked the oxygen out of classrooms across the country.

We agreed that we are in a state of emergency in our schools.   The current testing regimes, which impact every facet of school life, are crippling our students’ ability to learn, grow and develop.  A recent national poll by PDK/Gallup found the public less than enthusiastic about significant increases in testing, with 41% of respondents saying that additional testing made no difference in school performance and 36% responding that it had hurt school performance.  Given the massive investment in tax dollars to contract with private corporations to develop and install standardized tests in most states in the country, elected officials on both sides of the aisle should be questioning a costly initiative that does not have public support and has come under attack by knowledgeable educators at every level.

During our conversation we reaffirmed that both educators and legislators have a profound commitment to service the children of our state, not only because it is a moral imperative, but because the future of our country depends on sound schools.     We decided to act immediately by expressing our concerns to a wider audience, outlining some of the disastrous protocols and their consequences that exist today in our schools as a result of a high stakes testing policy.

Legislator, educator challenging ‘testing juggernaut’.

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