Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I Support The "Opt Out" Movement And So Does The New Regents Chancellor.
I have been a firm supporter of the "opt out" movement that was in response to the State's misguided Common Core based "high stakes tests" that forced teachers to forego real education to concentrate on months of test preparation. The backlash was swift as 20% of the State's students refused to take the Common Core based "high stakes" tests, with Long Island seeing a 50% "opt out" rate last year. This year, the State made some cosmetic changes such as eliminating the time limit, having fewer questions, and provide more materials for the tests. Moreover, the State, under pressure, will not tie-in the test results to teacher evaluations (4 year moratorium). However, this still means that teachers are doing months of test preparation for Common Core based tests that 70% of the students will not achieve proficiency in. Furthermore, it will take six days to complete the tests and that takes away from time for real learning. Finally, most students from 3-8 grades detest these tests and suffer from fear and loathing as they become stressed out in taking these difficult tests. Is that what we want for our children?
Earlier this month, Chancellor Carmen Farina claimed that any teacher who supported the "opt out" movement and told their students of their opinion were "unprofessional". In other words, the Chancellor is imposing her own personal opinion to the classroom teacher. Well considering how disappointing the Chancellor has been in eliminating the Bloomberg education system that has resulted in changing the deck chairs on the Titanic, her opinion is worthless. Maybe the Chancellor should start improving the New York City schools by terminating the 300 Bloomberg holdovers she retained at the DOE and remove the 400 Principals she claimed should not be running their schools. Chancellor Farina needs to "clean house" and show that she's an effective manager before teachers will take what she says seriously.
Now the "opt out" movement received a big jump start as the new Regents Chancellor, Betty Rosa, has told the New York Times that if she had a child in the 3-8 grade cohort, she would "opt out" her child until the State changed the tests and the procedures associated with them. Now that Ms. Rosa is in charge, let's see how the Common Core based "high stakes" tests and the teacher evaluation tie-in actually changes. Maybe there's some hope down the road.