Thursday, May 31, 2007

$80 Million.......well spent!

I was so excited to hear that $80 million dollars was being contracted to McGraw-Hill. I just bought stock in the company....folks this is the way to make more money as a teacher! Private companies saving public education once again.

"Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced yesterday that the city school system would spend $80 million over five years on a battery of new standardized tests to begin this fall for most of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students....

The test results will not be used for decisions on promoting teachers, whether they should be granted tenure, or how to grade schools, Mr. Klein said at an afternoon news conference. He called them a way to spot students who are falling behind."



Superfly said...

"In India, when we want the elephant to grow, we feed the elephant, we don't weigh the elephant" - Some Indian Educator quoted in some Edutopia article.

Anonymous said...

While you are always sarcastic when giving your point of view or trying to make a point, did you actually get stock in McGraw-Hill? Is it going up? Maybe it is a good tip for the rest of us since whining about how we shouldn't be testing our students is not going to change anything. In fact testing is becoming more the thing even though the progrssive movement in education is picking up speed. The powers that be in education are always looking for the quick fix and this type of action seems to molify parents and isn't that what this is all about. Lets make sure those teachers that work only 9 months out of the year do their job and make those kids pass the standardized tests so now we all know who is doing their job right.
There are many teahcers who break their butts everyday but there are just as many who do not and that is one of the reasons why the watchdog is being put in place.

goddess said...

testing them 5 times a year?!?!?!

Don't you think we kinda test them too much?

Is this a regular take this test during class kind of the marathon of testing where you have multiple days with long periods of testing?

Why only reading and math? What about the other subjects?

Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer in testing. I think kids should be tested 5 times a day, in every class, every day. After all in the real world, aren't people tested and evaluated in the workplace on a constant basis?

What we are testing, however, is key. Should I test the kids on all the facts, people, places and things from the Global curriculum? Because as a Global teacher, a historian, and human being very rarely do I apply content knowledge about, oh let's say, Mongol invasions in Asia into my daily life.

If you want to test my kids on writing skills, presentation/public speaking, critical thinking, and plain ole' common sense then pass me the tests. If all these skills can be tested using content as the venue then all the better. Content DOES NOT make the wise man. Knowing what to do with knowledge, or lack thereof, is the beginning of wisdom (and the true nature of education).

Have we survived countless millenia as a species because some neolithic shaman was good at passing on trivia? Are we as teachers effective because we know "a lot of stuff" or because we possess strong SKILLS to pass on to younger people? Be honest do you remember everything about your own high school curriculum? Does it matter?

We need to maintain our focus and a clear understanding of our greater and ultimate goals. Let us test wisely fellow Jedi.

May the force be with you!


Joanna said...

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my
measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.
-George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

But are we using these "measurements" to create new clothes? I am thinking not...

Ms. Mayo said...


Just so you don't get a skewed view of the picture, and I'm sure you already know this, but...

assessment is important.
assessment should drive instruction.

The argument is more about the fact that many of us believe that some of the accountability efforts have not been geared in that way. Heck, even look at the regents. I have advisory kids that failed the global regents. I wanted to get their test papers so we could see what they did wrong,what they needed to study. I was told that we're not allowed to do that! In other words, if the assessment is not used except to provide a grade, it's little more than an annoyance.

Also, although there are many incompetent teachers in the world as the anonymous poster that called Brown sarcastic said, there are others of us that value our own assessments (especially since they're based on what we teach...and if you think about the idea of backwards planning, we are putting those pieces in place before we teach, after we decide what we want kids to learn, we should design are own. And those assessments might be one-on-one conferencing with kids, projects and presentations, etc.

That said, there is word that the M-H assessments look good, and provide specific information on what students don't understand so that we can use that information in our teaching.

As far as your tailor quote and comment (while not as good as the elephant quote, still good), in a sense, we are making new clothes with the measurements as we monitor what kids learn and adjust our teaching when kids don't get it.

I was right at the senior awards when I said that you know more about progressive education than most teachers. Please keep posting here after graduation!


Ms. Mayo said...

And, one more thing, Joanna (I apologize for the extra "n" in your name in the previous post),

There have also been some conspiracy theorist types over the past few years that believe that the big publishing companies work in cahoots with test makers, that politics are involved, that tests are biased, etc. These conversations make many of us especially leery of standard assessments. That and we give a lot of lip service to the different ways people learn, the different time it takes people to get there, etc. and then giving one test, written, to all kids at the same age at the same time, just feels like talking out of both sides of our mouths.

For now.