Monday, August 15, 2011

Teaching Or Testing? For Charter Schools And Education Reformers Testing Is More Important Than Teaching?


The New York Daily News, the New York Post and Stanley Crouch have bragged how the Charter Schools had better test scores then their neighborhood schools with the publishing of the 2010 New York State results. What both ignore is that the test scores are based only on two subjects, English & Math. These tests fail to determine the entire academic achievement for all subjects and total learning of the students. Furthermore, neither article addresses the selective admissions policy of Charter Schools that are not accepting of students with disabilities, English language learners, or high poverty students with dysfunctional families which have lower test scores. Moreover, many of the Charter Schools are primarily two subject schools, English & Math, and test preparation is what is important not a whole education curriculum. Finally, Charter Schools have their own discipline and attendance policies that kick out many students that have discipline problems or miss too much school. Let's look at each issue.

Charter Schools are simply test preparation factories that focus on the New York State English and Math tests and minimize the total academic achievement of the students. Many Charter's have no physical education, art, or music teachers and in some cases, lack science and social studies teachers. Is it any wonder that the Charter Schools did poorly on the New York State "career and college readiness" statistics in 2010?

The Charter Schools have a selective admission process as they will go to great lengths to consul out students who do not fit their idea of a "student". Even the most passive Charter School will only accept applications from parents who actually apply to them. Since many students come from dysfunctional families and/or are homeless, they tend to be excluded from the Charter School admission process.

Charter Schools will limit the amount of students who have disabilities or are English language learners by claiming they do not have the resources to provide them services. The result is that the neighborhood public school has a much higher rate of the two groups then the Charter School.

The neighborhood Public School has more students in poverty and qualify for a free lunch than the Charter School and poverty has a direct correlation with student learning.

Finally, Charter Schools have their own, more stringent discipline code that expels many students who cannot abide by the school rules. These children are dumped into the neighborhood Public School.

A good education needs to have a whole learning approach, that includes low class sizes, experienced teachers, and Administrative support. By contrast most Charter Schools have only one of these three, low class sizes. The teacher turnover makes it difficult for Charters to retain experienced teachers, especially those "great teachers" the Education reformers preach about and the Administrative support is usually lacking as profits are maximized
and Administrators are replaced annually.

Go ahead and brag about how well Charter Schools did but when it comes to real learning it is all "smoke and mirrors".




7 comments:

Anonymous said...

To Chaz,

Smoke and mirrors? tell me one thing that is not?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that nobody ever mentions that students spend months drilling for standardized tests. If they don't do well can you imagine how bad those students are academically. I think we should have standardized tests in every subject every month to give a true picture of what really happening in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Over practice in any one aspect of the learning really stunts the overall growth. Testing itself may reinforces what have already learned, but does not improve the acquisition of the new concepts and the new skills.

Anonymous said...

I believe that al subjects should have one standardized test. This will show how well-rounded their education really is.

This will force schools to teach a whole curriculum, not the two subjects that most charter schools and some public schools do now.

betruetothyself said...

money is quite an important thing in this so called reform movement!

Sweet Girl Tracie said...

To anonymous at (3:51)

You must be one of those education deformers who is not a teacher and knows nothing about how children really learn. If you actually work with children, you will know that children need to be taught to them with connections. Instead students are being based on a measly test score that provides very little information to how students are really performing.

Sometimes really bright students do NOT PERFORM WELL on tests. Sometimes there are average students who perform really well but it all means nothing.

One of the true way to really authentically assess students is by carefully observing how students are responding to questions, instruction, the application part of the lesson and even by student behavior. I can identify when a student may be bored with a particular interest or activity by how the students are responding to me or the lesson. This tells me to change things up a little to cater to the students needs, rather to the test prep that most teaches are being told to teach.

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