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The first tweet on this page is from Mark Weber, acolyte of teacher union leaders and affiliated groups like Education Law Center, NJ Policy Perspective, and Diane Ravitchy-types. Weber and his crew are opposed to standardized testing because it makes schools look bad. (See here for my take.) Doesn’t matter the vendor — could be the “gold star” NAEP tests or the despised PARCC tests — because having accurate measurements of student proficiency is less important than protecting reputations of traditional schools and teachers. Never mind that 1/5 of American 15-year-olds read below the level of a 10-year-old! Our schools rock!
Anyway, in this tweet Weber is responding to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s announcement yesterday that she would not grant waivers (like she did last Spring) for standardized tests. Weber thinks this is a bad idea.
(Aside: Weber is blaming this anorexic hog on lack of resources for schools, ignoring the fact that New Jersey shells out the highest per-pupil cost in the country and that’s why we’re “#1″ on EdWeek’s list.)
Now, let’s be clear: I mostly despise DeVos for her rescission of Obama-era guidance on protecting students with disabilities, students of color, and non-cis students, and that’s just for starters. But in this case she did something good. Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Yes, many districts are using hybrid-learning or remote instruction, but we still need to know where our kids are at academically. Otherwise, how can we measure their various needs? Waiving standardized tests hurts kids. We can’t fix what we can’t measure.
And look, I’m not the only DeVos-averse person to salute this move. Here’s Anne Hylsop of the Alliance for Excellent Education:
Here’s Chad Aldeman of Bellwether:
Here’s Andy Rotherham:
So, guess what? Betsy DeVos is right. What best for kids is measuring what they’ve learned so they can recover academically from what may be the strangest school year in history. Those who think otherwise remind me of — wait for it — Donald Trump. He wants Covid-19 infections to remain undetected so he looks good. He opposes measurement to protect his reputation (whatever’s left of it).
Slow the testing down or we’ll find more infections! It’s a double-edged sword! When you do testing you find more people, you find more cases and I look bad! So, I said to my people, slow the testing down!
How is that different than Weber et. al.? Slow the testing down or we’ll find more cases of learning loss! It’s a double-edged sword! When you have accurate information on what students need, our schools will look bad! So slow the testing down!
You tell me the difference.