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Sun May 5, 2013, 11:35 PM

 

My niece wants to opt-out ( from testing) her three ps kids.

Last edited Mon May 6, 2013, 09:37 AM - Edit history (1)

High performing suburban NYC school district.

Her girls are getting physically ill from the test-prep and the stress.

Not content to drive city schools into complete chaos w. this nonsense, the moral and ethical defectives in the NYS state legislature --- odds-on THE most corrupt state legislature in the USA--- have decided to extend this high stakes testing into the suburban leafy-greens --- which, considered separately--- already outperform ALL other industrialized nations on international assessments.

At least they did until now.

I'm always approaching these issues ( i.e. school reform flimflammery) from the provider end; so I'm a little at a loss as to how to advise her.

So.....who should I put her in touch with? What links should I send her?

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 12:10 AM

1. WISH I could answer.

I grew up in one of those high performing suburban NYC school districts. Try contacting:

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/04/11/rockville-centre-administrator-named-new-york-state-principal-of-the-year/

More, about testing from Carol Burris: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2012/10/12/something-is-wrong-when/

'Parents get it. They are opting out of testing. From Niagara Falls to Long Island they are uniting against the proliferation of standardized tests, and test based reform.'

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Mon May 6, 2013, 01:07 AM

2. I'm of a mind that, where optional, that parents should band together and boycott testing.

 

I'm not dead certain, mind you, that this would do any good, but it might be a good way to send a message.

The amount of time spent on testing is criminal, so much instructional time lost and the stress that it causes, oh my God.

And how often does the system truly use the results to drive improvements in teaching strategies?

In my experience, never.

Grrrrr.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #2)

Mon May 6, 2013, 01:09 AM

3. Right, SKP, and Ms. Burris, principal of MY high school (!!!!!)

(a 'few' years after I graduated!) recognized that fact.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #2)

Mon May 6, 2013, 01:33 AM

4. If only they could be organized

into massive civil disobedience, keeping all the kids home on testing days. This applies to urban as well as suburban schools.

Then again, the kids really do need to get used to being tested. They'll have to face the ACT/SAT soon enough.

The problem is that the anxiety is being ramped up by the teachers, consciously or unconsciously. Teachers are branded failures along with schools when a crop of kids does worse than expected, so the stakes are at least as high for them.

I don't know what to tell your friend. You can't give Valium to little kids, but I am at a loss as to how to reduce the panic they get into at test time.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Mon May 6, 2013, 08:40 AM

5. We are actually instructed

to ramp up that anxiety. Not in those words, of course. My principal comes into the classroom to give "inspirational" speeches the week before testing, and expects me to make sure that students know those tests are more important than anything else they are doing. He meets with us every few weeks to see what we're doing to prepare for the tests.

Why? Because he's evaluated on school "achievement" derived from those scores.

And, of course, the scores are now part of teacher evaluation. So when parents opt out, which I think they should, they are setting up teachers to take professional hits.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #5)

Mon May 6, 2013, 11:35 PM

11. And in Texas, if the child does not pass every exit test, they do not get a diploma.

So here we must deal with it, as there is no opt-out.

If it was available, I'd advise anyone to opt out.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #11)

Tue May 7, 2013, 08:13 AM

15. It's the same here.

Parents can still opt out, although I don't see it happening in high school. It can happen 3rd - 8th grades before high school, though.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #5)

Mon May 6, 2013, 11:54 PM

13. Yeah, he wants you to save his job for him.

Screw that. You should be trying to lessen the kids' anxiety, they'll do better on the tests if you do.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #13)

Tue May 7, 2013, 08:11 AM

14. And when I do as you think I should,

I get removed from the committee whose stipend was helping fill the large loss of income suffered with paycuts and school day cuts. That happened this year.

Why? Because I don't share the district's and school's "vision" for school improvement.

My evaluations show it as well. They aren't bad, but they're no longer the top tier they used to be.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #14)

Tue May 7, 2013, 09:44 AM

16. I'm curious. Are they using Danielson for observations? n/t

 

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #16)

Wed May 8, 2013, 08:06 AM

17. Yes.

I don't have a problem with Danielson's Framework. Or at least, not with most of it. I disagree with some of the rubrics.

I get lots of positive language about how "proficient" I am, but I don't ever expect to be "distinguished" because I simply don't agree with, or do, some of what the district is obsessed with, and what appears in those rubrics.

And, of course, now there is merit pay attached to being found "distinguished."

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Response to Warpy (Reply #4)

Mon May 6, 2013, 11:32 PM

10. I've actually got a one hour presentation on recognizing and reducing test anxiety

that I've been giving to my own students for years, as well as distributing it during inservice workshops, and more recently, to another DUer who forwarded it on to her friend.

After I developed the first form of this 14 years ago, my own students' scored improved by 20%. I have a lifetime average of 98% of my students passing the various forms of exit tests (TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS), and I have found that recognizing and reducing anxiety is the best short strategy I've found.

Just my 2 cents, although looking over this post, it looks like I think it's a million ( )

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #10)

Mon May 6, 2013, 11:53 PM

12. Kudos to you for doing that

I only hope your program gets distributed more wi wdely.

I worked with some gifted graduate nurses who couldn't get licensed because of their test anxiety. If they'd had access to your program, maybe that would not have been the case.

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Response to elleng (Reply #1)

Mon May 6, 2013, 10:54 AM

6. Thanks. Apparently it's legal for parents to opt-out in NYS.

 

(Nobody wants them to know this; but apparently it IS legal.)

So I sent her this:
http://timeoutfromtesting.org/ Even has an "opt-out-letter".


And also a link to Parents Across America.... which might be a good place to start for folks in other states.

There's also "Change The Stakes"... I'm not sure if it's local or national.

We had a good time laughing about this part at brunch yesterday:
http://www.joannejacobs.com/2013/03/evaluation-overkill-hits-pe-teachers/

Keeerissst. These people are becoming completely unhinged.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #6)

Mon May 6, 2013, 01:22 PM

7. Great that you found and sent that, Doofus.

Well MY phys ed teachers would have failed miserably if judged by MY achievements: *Consistently demonstrating correct skipping technique with a smooth and effortless rhythm;

*Able to throw consistently a ball underhand with good accuracy and technique to a target (or person) with varying distances.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Original post)

Mon May 6, 2013, 07:52 PM

8. I checked with a couple of school administrators about this. If they don't get enough kids

taking the test, it affects their rankings, which in turn affects their funding.

I still would opt out if I had school aged kids though.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #8)

Mon May 6, 2013, 10:45 PM

9. It's true. I found this on the Ravitch blog:

 

Parent letter to NYC bureaucracy drones:


"State accountability: Under No Child Left Behind, New York State measures each school’s rate of participation in state tests. If 95% of a school or one or more of its subgroups of students (e.g. Hispanic students, students with disabilities, Limited English Proficient students) do not take the assessment, the school does not make Adequate Yearly Progress – which has funding and intervention consequences for schools.

I am just a parent with a child in the NYC public schools. That is my only standing to challenge this statement. But I believe if the era of “accountability” in which we find ourselves is to mean anything at all, then education officials must be held accountable to children and the parents who raise them. So I would appreciate a forthright answer to the following questions:

Is it not a distortion of the original intent of NCLB’s 95% rule to penalize schools, not because the schools are concealing low performance on the part of their students (by having their least capable students stay out of the testing in order to receive a more favorable rating by the state), but because parents who are deeply involved in and concerned about their children’s educations (and whose children therefore are, if anything, likely to perform well on state tests) are choosing to opt their children out of a regime of high-stakes testing that the best minds in education in our country have long since repudiated?"
The rest: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/03/30/parent-to-nyc-official-stop-the-intimidation/

That's how they get the building admins to crack the whip. (And also mislead parents about their right to opt-out.) It's a fucking plantation system.

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