If you think there’s already too much focus on test scores in our schools, you should know it’s about to get worse.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering new regulations that would dramatically up the ante on test scores and expand their scope from math and reading to all subjects.
The deadline for comments on these draft regs is June 10. Let’s give the board an earful!
Comments should go to 2011EvaluationRegulations@doe.mass.edu.
The draft regs are at http://www.doe.mass.edu/lawsregs/
Here’s why the regs would hurt our children:
There’s a lot in the draft about “multiple measures of student learning” and “highly relevant lessons” and “active learning.” All that’s fine.
But they also say that districts must have at least two measures of “student performance” for every grade and every subject, and these measures must be a “significant factor” in all teacher evaluations.
Even that doesn’t sound so bad until you think about what it means.
If you’re a teacher and you don’t boost your kids’ scores enough, you can lose your job. So a class of slow learners becomes a threat to your livelihood. Instead of rewarding teachers for taking on tough challenges, we’re going to punish them.
Possibly the best explanation of how this system hurts kids was written by a New York State principal in a Washington Post blog.
Let’s voice our opposition to this huge escalation in the pressure for test prep. People in other communities are speaking out, too.
Comments don’t need to be long or cover all the bases. Even one sentence is enough to register your opposition.
We may not be able to keep the state board from approving these regs, but they should know that the opposition is broad and deep. The campaign will continue even if the regs are adopted.
If you want to get involved, please let me know because I’d like to put together a Somerville group. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also want to join the Coalition for Authentic Reform in Education email list by sending a message to email@example.com.