New Orleans Charter Testing 101

Times-Picayune journalist Sarah Carr published this story today http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2011/08/new_orleans_charter_testing_dr.html
My comment posted on NOLA.com as a response to BayouBud follows:
comment will appear.
lbarrios
lbarriosAugust 20, 2011, 11:28AM

BayouBud: Outside, independent auditing of testing administration will not solve the SOURCE of the problem of unreliability and invalidity of the use of high stakes standardized tests. A majority of members of BESE, the former State Superintendent Paul Pastorek and Governor Jindal have made it abundantly clear that their goal is to privatize public education - not a trend but a MISSION that has caused havoc in public schools systems nationwide.

As long as these scores come from LDOE, there are endless opportunities for misrepresentation. Some of these misrepresentations have been identified and published by reputable watchdogs like Research on Reforms (http://www.researchonreforms.org). But the numbers they have available for analysis can only come through Freedom of Information requests to the LDOE. Not an audit, but an investigation, of the LDOE and their handling and oversight of tests scores needs to be conducted.

How prevalent is the practice of suspending, expelling or transferring students after they fail the test but before their 120 day attendance "window of opportunity" expires thus enabling the school to eliminate the test score but retain funding for that student? Where do these students go? How is their departure officially categorized on school records? How do attendance numbers at the beginning of school, day of test and after the test correlate? This is only one of many problems that need to be exhumed from LDOE.

A test score represents nothing more than a number on a piece of paper unless that test is returned for analysis by the student's teacher to determine strengths and weaknesses and to design individualized curriculum to address that student's needs. When will parents STOP ALLOWING this destructive mislabelling of their children as FAILURES? High stakes standardized testing has got to stop. Student learning cannot be measured by a single standardized test.

The next step in destroying our public school system may come next spring if a bill that requires teacher effectiveness to be measured based on these student test scores receives permanent status. The determination that "everybody's effectivenss is based on somebody else's effectiveness" is absurd.

Because the next wave in the tsunami of "reform" will target teacher certification, educators and the public can expect FAILURE to continue to be a mantra to support the "reformers" contention that teachers are bad. The former "highly qualified" designation of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation will be replaced by "highly effective" and the notion that experience, specialized education and expertise are factors in teacher quality will go out the window. Teachers who are deemed "ineffective" based on their student test scores will not only lose their jobs and their certifications but will be lose their ability to practice their profession. With that prospect on the horizon, certified teachers will continue to migrate out of low-performing, high poverty schools in hopes of landing jobs in schools and districts where they have a prayer of a chance. And that's just another part of the scheme to replace teachers in the high needs areas with unqualified, untrained, non-certified and licensed temporary instructors like Teach for America personnel.

In the meantime, teachers will continue to be characterized as cheaters and lazy union thugs with these test scores to back that up. Students will continue to be poorly served or cast out of the very schools that promised them CHOICE. AUTONOMY of charters will continue to build its smokescreen against accountability. Voters needs to identify and support candidates for the Board of Education who understand the process of education. They need to support candidates who will pledge to bring true accountability to all levels of the education system. There needs to be MEANINGFUL reform and an end to the status quo of test and drill. There needs to be full and equitable funding for public education DEVOID of the misappropriation of funds to out-of-state consultants, testing companies and charter providers.

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