More than 10,000 High School Chilean Students March for 'Free Education' | Common Dreams
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Father of High-Stakes Testing, Paul Vallas, now opposes them
Reuters reports that former Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas thinks end-of-year assessments are “not useful” and that it’s “a big mistake” to use them for high-stakes purposes.
Well, he needs to apologize to about 125,000 Chicago Public School students who have been flunked because of the high-stakes testing policy he started in 1996 as CPS CEO. And maybe his “education consulting firm” can figure out how those students who were thrown off-track by retention can recoup their educational losses and how taxpayers can recoup the more than $1 billion CPS has wasted over the years with Vallas’s failed student promotion policy. That kind of money would come in pretty handy right now, what with CTU contract negotiations underway.
In fact, Vallas is the Father of High-Stakes Testing. He was the first to flunk huge numbers of students every year based solely on their end-of-year Iowa test scores. You may have read this powerful story by one of the first students to be affected by Vallas’s “ending social promotion” fiasco; we’ve had it posted for a while under the Take Action menu on our home page. Read it again (or for the first time) as you consider Vallas’s apparent change of heart, according to the Reuters story:
Even some advocates of testing are beginning to publicly complain about the system.
Many state assessments are given in March or April, so they capture only what a student has learned in the first two-thirds of the school year. The results often don’t come back until the summer, too late for teachers to use the scores to guide their approach in the classroom.
“They’re not useful,” said Paul Vallas, a veteran superintendent who has helped turn around districts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans and is now running the schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Vallas is hardly anti-test: He favors giving abbreviated versions of standardized tests every six weeks, all year, so teachers can monitor student progress and adjust accordingly. But a single high-stakes test? “A big mistake,” Vallas said.
“The assessment systems are not reliable,” he said. “They need to be more sophisticated, more accountable, more fair.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, CPS still uses an only slightly modified version of the old Vallas promotion policy. Our December 2010 complaint against the policy has been sitting at the U. S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, apparently just collecting dust, while CPS massages the same failed policy — a handful of changes were made at the May 2012 Board meeting, including dropping poor attendance as a factor and changing a couple of terms.
So, more CPS students will be sent to summer school in a few days and possibly flunked at the end of the summer based on assessments that are “not reliable,” in the words of the Father of High-Stakes Testing.
NYC parents happy – NOLA parents sad
Thursday, April 7th, 2011
It’s a mixed news day for parents. children and schools.
New York City parents are celebrating the resignation of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black and her Deputy, John White. Black, who served less than 100 days, was a bizarre appointment by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who, like Chicago’s mayor, runs the schools. Black’s previous experience was in the publishing world (Hearst Publications, USA Today); she needed a waiver of all education requirements from the state legislature to become chancellor. (Of course, our legislature waived any and all CPS CEOs from such requirements in 1995.)
Black almost immediately alienated NYC parents when she suggested “birth control” as a remedy for overcrowded classrooms. Things went downhill from there.
White’s resume is not much more impressive than Black’s. But… New York’s gain is New Orleans’ loss. White is headed to The Big Easy to replace outgoing (and, from what I hear, already out-gone) Paul Vallas, who has set his sights on Chile next. apparently sparing Haiti, which had originally been in the path of Hurricane Paul. NOLA parents won’t miss Vallas, but aren’t pleased that his replacement was responsible for school closings and expanding charter schools in NYC. This doesn’t bode well for the two-tiered school system in New Orleans, where massive charter expansion is already destroying the neighborhood school system.
We congratulate NYC parents on their successful challenge of one bad school district leader – let’s hope that other mayors (or mayors-elect) are paying attention!