Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Teachers' Union Answer To Budget Crisis? Stop Testing Students

This has been the mantra from the Educrats in California for time immemorial. The logic originally used to justify mid-year assessment testing has been that minorities do worse on testing than white students do (its unfair) and that teachers are forced to teach to the test rather than 'expanding young minds'.

It's all a bunch of crap. The union does not want periodic assessment testing because it reveals how poorly education is being administered in the state.

So now, having failed to convince enough suckers that not testing throughout the year will lead to better scores on advancement testing (huh?), the LA Teachers' Union has proposed the end to assessment testing as a means with which to correct the state budget deficit!

Axing these district assessments would spare jobs by saving millions of dollars -- and would improve instruction at the same time, said A.J. Duffy, president of United Teachers Los Angeles.
So what have the tests themselves achieved?

The union's call for a boycott of the tests has emerged as an early trial for new Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, who took over Jan. 1.

Cortines asserted that the assessments are part of teachers' assigned duties -- they are not optional. He also said he has and will amend aspects of the tests that need fixing. But he won't toss them out because, he said, they have contributed strongly to rising performance on the state's own annual tests.

He may be right, based on a Times' analysis of last year's improved state test scores in 10th-grade English and Algebra 1.

The Times found that greater participation in the district assessments was associated with better scores. In 10th-grade English, the correlation was fairly strong, accounting for nearly half the improvement.

The link was more moderate in Algebra 1, explaining about one-third of the gains for high school students in that subject.

The Times looked at these two subjects in part because the data were available -- it isn't for all subjects -- and also because of importance of these courses. Algebra 1, for example, is considered a "gateway" course to academic success.
In my mind, the LA Times' findings end the debate. But not for the union cronies that run our education system.

"The pig does not get fatter when you weigh it 10 times a day," Duffy said. "And if the test scores do go up, isn't it phony? Because what you are doing is teaching to the test, teaching a subject that has been narrowed down radically. We're not creating smarter kids. We're creating smarter test takers."

Duffy announced the boycott Tuesday at Emerson Middle School on the Westside, where teachers said the district tests were too burdensome on top of already mandated state and federal testing.

"We are supposed to be teaching, not testing," said Emerson English teacher Cecily Myart-Cruz. "We can come up with our own assessments in our classroom, and we do -- every day."

Top officials, however, had concluded that too many instructors failed to enforce high standards or didn't focus properly on teaching the specific skills and knowledge required by the state.
I love the pig analogy! The only pigs I see around here are the educats that feed at the trough of the American tax-payer, getting fatter and fatter and fatter and...

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