I had to share this op/ed in the New York Post by David Bloomfield who is a professor of Education, Law and Policy at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.
Maybe next year’s expensive Common Core tests will include this political axiom: The amount of spin is directly proportional to the size of the screw-up.
Last week we saw a lot of spin.
The education/political establishment went into overdrive, with defensive statements from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, state Commissioner John King and Chancellor Dennis Walcott, among others. All assured us that the bitter medicine of poor test scores is good for us and good for our kids. We were told to ignore their decade-long assertions of educational success and take it on faith that now things will get better.
King even went so far as to warn, “There are those who will use the change in students’ proficiency rates to attack teachers and principals.”
But, as far as I know, no one is attacking educators for this debacle. The blame should be shouldered, not deflected, by the edu-pols who got us into this.
The Common Core is a set of national standards meant to deepen students’ skills and knowledge beyond what is currently taught. By “currently taught,” I mean teaching-to-the-test promoted by these and other political appointees, plus elected officials like Mayor Bloomberg, who put raising scores above all.
Prior to the Common Core, the federal No Child Left Behind law led states to develop tests designed to produce artificially high test scores — which politicians wanted, but was inconveniently out of whack with what students need to succeed in modern, well-paying jobs.
Now Duncan says those scores were “lies” even though he and his colleagues originally pushed that agenda. They introduced the Common Core and the new tests as a corrective to NCLB.
This campaign of self-inoculation by our political elite against widespread disappointment should not protect them. They got us into this. We must reject their spin.
The problem is that we suffer from the same sense of powerlessness that infects politics in general. Bloomberg and state Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are two of the richest people in America. Over-testing is the result of exam-centric evaluation of schools and teachers bankrolled by President Obama and Bill Gates, our most politically and financially powerful citizens.